The deal effectively ends the first simultaneous strike at three Detroit auto plants. GM was the last of them that did not have the deal finalized yet. The protest lasted six weeks. Employees achieved a record wage increase. GM workers will end their strike and return to work once the new contract is ratified, the union said in a statement.
In recent days, the UAW negotiated agreements with Ford Motor and Stellantis, with record wage and benefit increases. Unionists say the deals mark a major victory for auto workers after years of stagnant wages and painful concessions unions were forced to make after the 2008 financial crisis.
The UAW won roughly the same wage increase package from GM that the union had agreed to with the other two automakers. In the case of long-term experienced workers, this means a wage increase of 33 percent.
Last month, for the first time in its 88-year history, the union launched simultaneous strikes for higher wages at the three largest automakers in the United States – Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. The strikes began at three assembly plants, one from each automaker, and gradually expanded. In the end, nearly 50,000 of the union’s 150,000 members joined the strike, and the automakers lost billions of dollars in more than 40 days of strikes.
This put the union in a very strong position for tough negotiations with auto management, which – from the UAW’s point of view – paid off. But this victory can be a loss in the long run. That’s because some analysts said the deals would put the three Detroit automakers at a disadvantage compared to electric car maker Tesla and foreign brands like Toyota Motor, which don’t have unions.
The Škoda car company from Mladá Boleslav is also preparing for negotiations with the unions, and although there is probably no threat of a strike at its plants, the negotiations will probably be very tough. Although the management of the car company is usually accommodating to the demands of the union representatives of its employees, this year, with regard to the difficult economic situation for the manufacturer itself, but also for its employees, it will probably not be easy to reach a satisfactory agreement.