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UAW-GM strike ends with union workers voting 'yes' on new deal

Picket lines are ending immediately. Workers at plants in Toledo, Defiance and Detroit voted for the deal.

TOLEDO, Ohio — On the 40th day of the strike, a majority of UAW members nationwide have approved the new labor contract with General Motors.

The United Auto Workers union confirmed that the contract passed on Friday but did not immediately announce vote totals.

Picket lines are ending immediately, and skilled trades workers will begin restarting factories that were shuttered when 49,000 workers walked out on Sept. 16. 

According to a return to work schedule posted on the UAW Local 14 website, resumption of normal business operations will take place on Monday with all employees reporting as normally scheduled. Some skilled trade workers can work on Saturday and Sunday on a voluntary basis.

The deal includes a mix of wage increases and lump-sum payments and an $11,000 signing bonus. But GM will close three U.S. factories.

Voting was conducted for several days, and the results of the vote from both Toledo and Defiance plants were in support of the contract. On Monday, Toledo's GM Powertrain voted in favor of the deal, with 80% voting "yes." Defiance Local 211 workers also affirmed the tentative deal, with  79% yes to 21% no for production and 64.7% yes to 35.3% no for skilled.   

The strike - 40 days - was the longest against GM since 1970. 

“General Motors members have spoken. We are all so incredibly proud of UAW-GM members who captured the hearts and minds of a nation. Their sacrifice and courageous stand addressed the two-tier wage structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working-class Americans," said Terry Dittes, UAW Vice president and director of the UAW-GM Department. 

To determine passage or failure of the national vote, a majority of individual workers had to approve the contract.

Many of the biggest assembly plants voiced support for the deal, which provides a signing bonus of $11,000, requires no increase in out of pocket costs for health insurance, and gives a modest hourly wage increase. 

The deal isn't sweet for everyone, however, as it does not eliminate lower wages for employees with GM's service and components facilities. Many of those facilities have been voting "no" on the deal. 

While some workers could be called back as early as Friday night, it will take some time before any new cars roll out, given the complexity of restarting machinery at plants after being shuttered for so long. 

The deal sets the stage for pacts that will be struck with Ford and Fiat-Chrysler. It's possible, however, that strikes could take place by workers against those automakers.  

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