Don’t Blame The UAW — Update

It appears that when GM engages the UAW in an effort to work together to promote their common interests (such as: “survival”) good things happen. GM and UAW announced today a new agreement:

DETROIT, Mich. – General Motors today confirmed that its UAW-represented employees have ratified the modifications to the GM-UAW 2007 National Labor Agreement. The amended agreement covers approximately 54,000 hourly employees located in 46 U.S. facilities.

“The leadership demonstrated by UAW president Ron Gettelfinger and UAW vice president Cal Rapson, and the hard work from the members of the GM and UAW negotiating teams, resulted in an innovative agreement that will enable GM to be fully competitive and has eliminated the gap with our competitors,” said Diana Tremblay, vice president of GM’s Labor Relations. “We very much appreciate the support of our employees and retirees. Their shared sacrifices will enable GM to become a stronger, more viable company that will continue to deliver world-class cars and trucks.”

Key highlights under the modified agreement include attainment of cost and cash savings comprehended in the GM Viability Plan that will enable the company to eliminate the wage and benefit gap with its competitors. It also includes changes to the agreements regarding the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) trust for retiree healthcare. The agreement also highlights GM’s plan to utilize an idled assembly and stamping facility for future production of a compact/small car in the United States to meet future fuel efficiency regulations.

In other words, in exchange for a healthy cut in overall compensation (wages, health insurance coverage/retirement benefits) GM agreed to use UAW workers to build the cars instrumental to its survival, including the Volt.

This is a good move by both sides.

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