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UAW Lands Big Gains – While GM Also Meets Key Demands

A closer look at the first of the new Big Three contracts.

by on Sep.19, 2011

Now that GM has settled, the UAW will have to focus on Chrysler and Ford - union chief Bob King shown here with Ford CEO Bill Ford.

Negotiators for General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union might have missed their deadline but the settlement they worked out – peacefully – late last Friday appears to be one that qualifies as the clichéd Win-Win for both labor and management.

Official details won’t be released until tomorrow, after UAW bargainers meet with the local union leaders who’ll have to sell the agreement to the rank-and-file.  But significant details are already leaking out and was able to pull together enough to get a clear understanding of why both sides are pleased with what they’ve hammered out.

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The agreement meets some of the union’s key demands, such as a large signing bonus, improved profit-sharing and increases for new workers hired in under a second-tier wage structure.  At the same time, GM will see steps taken to improve the productivity of its U.S. plants, and it appears likely the maker will actually be able to place even more workers, going forward, into the lower, Tier 2 wage category.