General Motors and the UAW are close to reaching a deal and putting an end to the 30-day strike, which has allegedly cost the automaker as much as $2 billion since it began in mid-September.
According to Reuters, GM and the UAW have agreed to terms on “most” issues the union is seeking concessions on and a deal will likely be announced on Wednesday.
Last Friday, the UAW made a counteroffer to a proposal GM sent over that Monday. The initial offer apparently included a $1,000 increase in the ratification bonus (from $8,000 to $9,000) along with 3-percent pay raises in the second and fourth years of the contract, in addition to 3-percent and 4-percent lump-sum payments in the first and fourth years of the contract.
The automaker also provided a clear path to employment for temporary workers, who will now be hired on after three years with the company, and will give temp workers a $3,000 ratification bonus. The automaker spent the weekend reviewing the counteroffer and is now finalizing some of the language in the proposal before this week’s official announcement.
It’s not clear if the contract will include product allocation for the Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown Assembly plants. The UAW previously said it would not accept an offer from GM that did not include new products for the two facilities. The automaker had previously offered to assign production of its upcoming electric pickup truck to Detroit-Hamtramck, along with battery cell production to Lordstown, but the UAW was apprehensive due to the uncertainty surrounding the future success of electric vehicles and the low output compared to gasoline vehicles.
Reuters also reports that GM CEO Mary Barra, along with company president Mark Reuss, joined in on discussions with the UAW last week and over the weekend—a potential sign that the discussions are indeed moving along. GM declined to provide a comment to Reuters regarding the involvement of the two executives in the negotiations, while a UAW spokesman also declined to comment on the matter for its article.
Union members will still have to vote to ratify the contract, even if the UAW and GM agree on a proposal. However, unionized GM employees would have the option of returning to work while the contract vote is happening, which would start GM’s production lines back up.
The UAW strike first began on September 15, when just under 50,000 of its unionized workers walked off the job demanding a better four-year contract, due to the success GM has had since the union signed the 2015 National Agreement. The strike has also affected GM plants in Mexico and Canada and had a negative effect on outside industries, including food service and shipping.