United Auto Staff members strike the General Motors Lansing Delta Assembly Plant on September 29, 2023 in Lansing, Michigan.
Bill Pugliano | Getty Images
DETROIT – General Motors union employees ratified a record take care of the United Auto Staff after a contentious final few days of voting, in response to results posted Thursday morning by the union.
Very similar to the negotiations themselves, voting was not as smooth as many thought it might be. A majority of the Detroit automaker’s large assembly plants rejected the pact, nevertheless it wasn’t enough to offset support at smaller facilities and a handful of other assembly plants.
Ratification of the deal got here under doubt Wednesday morning, after seven of GM’s 11 U.S. assembly plants rejected the pact. But a swing in voting ends in favor of the deal, specifically at a SUV plant in Texas, gave the agreement a much needed lifeline.
Based on the UAW’s vote tracker, the deal was supported by roughly 54% of the greater than 34,700 autoworkers at GM who voted. Results are still outstanding at two smaller GM facilities representing about 1,400 hourly employees, but would not be enough to offset the roughly 2,500-vote margin.
Each the UAW and GM declined to comment on the outcomes until they have been finalized.
Voting on similar contracts at Ford Motor and Chrysler-parent Stellantis is ongoing, with support of roughly 67% of unionized employees at each automaker who voted as of Thursday morning, in response to the union. Barring any major shifts or swing in turnouts, those deals are more likely to pass.
GM’s voting was closer, partially, because of the demographics of the corporate’s workforce. The automaker has the best variety of traditional employees on a percentage basis in comparison with its crosstown rivals. Such employees have voiced disapproval for the wage increases granted to them by the deals, in comparison with those offered to newer hires. They were also dissatisfied with pension contributions and retirement advantages.
For the union and UAW President Shawn Fain, the deals represent significant economic gains. They include 25% pay increases; a path to secure future jobs for union ranks similar to battery plants; and a springboard for organizing efforts at other non-union automakers operating within the U.S. — a predominant goal of Fain moving forward.
For the businesses in addition to their investors, the contracts represent the top-end of forecasted increases in labor costs. While the automakers several times called foul on the union’s tactics, including six weeks of targeted strikes, they need to have the option to stomach the price increases. That is to not say they will not be searching for offsets to the increases elsewhere within the types of future investments, restructuring and other means.
Ford CFO John Lawler last month said the UAW deal, if ratified by members, would add $850 to $900 in costs per vehicle assembled. He said Ford will work to “find productivity and efficiencies and value reductions throughout the corporate” to offset the extra costs and deliver on previously announced profitability targets.