Autoworkers’ union UAW reached settlement with the “big three” US vehicle makers, bringing an end to six weeks of co-ordinated strikes that affected battery plant operations. Big pay rises have resulted.
Reuters reported the UAW won roughly the same package of wage increases with all three automakers. The GM deal, the last of the three, means pay for veteran workers will rise by 33% and GM will give $2,500 in five payments to retirees up until 2028.
It said the contract reverses years of efforts by GM to create lower-paid groups of UAW workers at units such as electric vehicle battery operations, component plants and parts warehouses. It puts workers at GM’s battery joint-venture with South Korea’s LG Energy under the national agreement, it said.
The UAW has said it aims to organise workforces at other carmakers, so in 2028 negotiations will be with five or six big companies, not three.
Cox Automotive’s chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, told Reuters consumers will bear some added cost as a result of the strikes over time, but added that the car makers will not have an easy time passing on all of the costs. The new agreement will cost GM $7 billion over 4.5 years in higher wages, according to the report. Ford said last week higher labour costs would add $850–900 per vehicle.
“We have shown the companies, the American public and the whole world that the working class is not done fighting” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a video to members. “In fact, we’re just getting started.”
Photo: UAW strike puts GM’s battery joint-venture with LG Energy under the national agreement