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DETROIT -- The UAW released details of its tentative agreement with General Motors Co. in the first set of negotiations since GM's emergence from bankruptcy, at a press conference today. The press conference followed a meeting of UAW GM local union leadership who voted to recommend the tentative agreement to local unions who will be conducting ratification votes at meetings throughout the country this week.
"In these uncertain economic times, we were able to win a tentative agreement with GM that guarantees good American jobs at a good American company. Our members made great sacrifices to save GM when the auto industry and the American economy were on the brink of collapse. As a result of this tentative agreement, UAW members will share in the company's success," said UAW President Bob King.
"Two years ago GM and Chrysler were hanging by a thread when President Obama stepped in and invested federal funds to help turn the companies and the U.S. auto industry around, protect the auto supplier base and keep good-paying jobs in America," King added.
"This tentative contract provides jobs for UAW members who have been laid off over the last several years, creates thousands and thousands of new jobs for communities in desperate need of work, and brings production back to the United States that had been moved to Mexico and other parts of the world," King added. "New investment and products for our plants and communities are the most important components of a secure future for our members and for American workers," said King.
Jobs, investment and product guarantees in the tentative agreement include:
Since the bankruptcy, GM has committed $4.6 billion in investment and new products to UAW plants, creating 11,800 jobs. In the proposed agreement, the union secured commitments to create or retain an additional 6,400 jobs, reflecting $2.5 billion of investment and, most significantly, returning production from Mexico to the U.S.
The tentative agreement also makes significant progress toward the union's goal of equal pay for equal work by increasing wages for entry-level workers to $19.28 over the term of the agreement. Entry-level workers would also receive $5,000 annually in tuition assistance and additional benefits and job protections.
The agreement includes a $5,000 signing bonus, a redesigned profit-sharing plan that will guarantee employees a minimum of $3,500 annually, as well as awards for meeting quality targets.
"The UAW entered into this set of negotiations as America struggles with record levels of unemployment and an economy that shows little sign of improvement," said UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who directs the union's General Motors Department. "GM, like most private and public employers across America, immediately sought givebacks in health care and pensions, but we were able to maintain those benefits and made important gains for our members to secure their jobs and create new jobs in communities across the country," Ashton added.
"When GM was struggling, UAW members shared in the sacrifice in a big way. The union has shown that it is totally committed to helping the domestic auto industry succeed. The UAW worked toward a contract that while providing members with a fair share of the success of the company, also ensures the continued success of the company," said Ashton.
"For all those people who want to attack unions and eliminate collective bargaining, this agreement proves that collective bargaining works - it works for the companies, it works for employees and it works for America. This UAW GM tentative agreement provides decent wages, benefits and rights on the job for workers while ensuring quality products and healthy profits for the company," said Ashton.
The UAW represents approximately 48,500 GM workers in the United States.