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General Motors Co.’s tentative agreement ending a six-week strike by the United Auto Workers union includes a $13 billion investment in US operations and better pay for workers at its battery plants.
GM is investing $4 billion at its Orion Assembly plant outside Detroit toward future vehicles, the union said Saturday. The automaker will also invest $2 billion in its electric-vehicle assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, where the company already makes the Cadillac Lyriq EV.
The pact includes steps toward increasing benefits for workers at EV battery plants. Workers at GM’s Ultium Cells LLC joint venture battery plants will be rehired by the automaker under the agreement. They will then be leased back to the battery joint venture and paid at least 75% of the top wage at Master Agreement plants.
Employees who once worked in GM’s now-shuttered assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, may transfer to the Ultium plant there.
“UAW family, we won this round. But if we want to win the next one, and the next one and the next one after that, the labor movement has got to get back into fighting shape,” UAW President Shawn Fain said.
The starting base wage will increase about 70% by the end of the contract, while the top wage will increase about 33%.
GM’s strike lasted the longest out of the three legacy Detroit automakers in an unprecedented effort that wreaked chaos on US automobile production and cost the industry billions of dollars.
The agreement includes a 25% hourly pay increase plus cost-of-living allowances through 2028. The pact also remove several wage tiers and brings additional workers into the master agreement, including those at Ultium Cells, owned by GM and Korea’s LG Energy Solution.
Plants making engines, transmissions and other parts for conventional vehicles will be phased out over many years as demand rises for EVs. That’s pushed the UAW toward efforts to unionize workers at factories that produce EV parts.
Terms must still be approved by GM’s 46,000 union members. Broadly, the agreement is similar to deals signed by Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV, though GM had issues of its own. The automaker has more retirees than either rival, making improved pension payouts more costly. Temporary workers account for as much as 10% of GM’s workforce, versus 3% at Ford.
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