Autoworkers ratify deal with GM after tight vote

Union workers at General Motors (GM) plants ratified a 54-month contract with the U.S. automaker on Thursday after a surprisingly tight vote, according to vote tracker compiled by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

A little over half — 54.7 percent — of GM workers supported the agreement, while 45.3 percent voted against it.

The agreement, reached late last month after a six-week strike against all three major U.S. automakers, features a 25 percent general wage increase over the life of the contract, including an immediate 11 percent pay raise, as well as cost-of-living adjustments and a quicker progression to the top wage rate.

While the deal struck with GM, Ford and Stellantis was touted by UAW leadership as a historic win for the union, workers voted down the contract at several major GM facilities in Michigan, Indiana, Missouri and Tennessee in recent days.

However, workers at one of the company’s largest facilities, an assembly plant in Arlington, Texas, ultimately voted in favor of the deal, helping to get the ratification effort across the finish line.

The agreement appeared to be heading toward success at Ford and Stellantis facilities as of Thursday afternoon, with 66.7 percent of Ford workers and 66.5 percent of Stellantis voting in favor of the contract, according to the UAW’s tallies.

However, votes will continue to be counted at Ford locations through Saturday and at Stellantis locations through Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

The UAW launched the strike against the Big Three Detroit automakers in mid-September after failing to reach a new agreement with the U.S. car companies before its previous contract expired.

The union took a unique approach with its “Stand Up Strike,” initially calling on workers at only a handful of facilities to walk off the job and strategically expanding the strike at various locations to increase pressure on the automakers amid negotiations.

Ford was the first of the Big Three to strike a deal with the UAW in late October, and Stellantis and GM quickly followed suit.

The union’s wins also marked a significant victory for President Biden, who has repeatedly referred to himself as “the most pro-union president in American history” and became the first sitting president to join striking workers on the picket line in late September.

Biden has used the UAW deals to bolster his own economic record and draw a contrast with former President Trump, as the 2024 presidential race increasingly appears to be heading toward a Biden-Trump rematch.

“When my predecessor was in office, six factories closed across the country. Tens of thousands of auto jobs were lost nationwide, and on top of that he was willing to cede the future of electric vehicles to China,” the president said to a crowd of UAW members in Illinois last week.

“Well, like almost everything else he said, he’s wrong,” Biden added. “And you have proved him wrong. Instead of lower wages, you won record gains. Instead of fewer jobs, you won a commitment for thousands of more jobs.”

Updated 2:04 p.m.

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