(Reuters) – The United Auto Workers union said on Friday its members ratified a new four-year labor contract with General Motors Co (GM.N), ending the strike with the No. 1 U.S. automaker after 40 days.
“UAW on strike” signs lean against a pile of wood on the picket line outside the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Hamtramck, Michigan, U.S. October 25, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
The union, which wrung higher pay and other benefits from GM as part of the deal to end the strike by about 48,000 workers, said 57% of the members voted to approve the deal.
UAW officials and striking workers on the picket lines had said their focus in the dispute with GM was on jobs, pay equity and fairness for workers who made concessions in 2009 to help GM through its government-led bankruptcy. They also wanted to save factories in Ohio and Michigan GM had threatened to close.
The following is a timeline of events leading up to the deal.
Nov. 26, 2018
GM announced the No. 1 U.S. automaker’s biggest restructuring since its 2009 bankruptcy, putting five North American plants on notice for potential closure and saying it would cut nearly 15,000 jobs.
The UAW, which represents U.S. workers at the four U.S. plants targeted, vowed to fight the cuts.
U.S. President Donald Trump demanded that GM save the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant that was targeted.
Nov. 27, 2018
Trump threatened to eliminate subsidies for GM in retaliation for the automaker cutting U.S. jobs and plants.
Dec. 5, 2018
GM Chief Executive Mary Barra warned the Detroit company had excess manufacturing capacity, and said the Lordstown plant’s future would be determined during the 2019 labor talks.
Dec. 14, 2018
GM said more than 1,100 of the 2,800 hourly active U.S. workers at plants losing production had volunteered to transfer to other plants. That number has risen since then to more than 2,300.
Jan. 3, 2019
The UAW sued GM in federal court, claiming its use of temporary workers at a plant in Indiana violated its labor deal.
Feb. 22, 2019
GM extended production at its Detroit Hamtramck plant until January 2020, instead of ending work in June as earlier planned. However, on March 6, the last Chevrolet Cruze small car rolled off the assembly line at the Lordstown plant.
Feb. 26, 2019
The UAW sued GM over its restructuring plan, saying it violated a 2015 collective bargaining agreement.
March 13, 2019
UAW President Gary Jones at the union’s bargaining convention in Detroit said job security and stopping the shift of U.S. jobs to Mexico were top priorities for the contract talks.
March 18, 2019
U.S. prosecutors in Detroit charged Norwood Jewell, a former high-ranking UAW official in charge of labor relations with Fiat Chrysler, of misusing funds to pay for lavish parties for himself and other union officials. The following month, he pleaded guilty.
May 8, 2019
GM said it was in talks to sell the idled Lordstown plant to a cash-strapped electric vehicle startup, Workhorse Group Inc (WKHS.O). GM also said it would invest $700 million in three other Ohio plants. The UAW called on GM to put a new product of its own in the plant.
June 5, 2019
Barra defended GM’s proposed sale of the Lordstown plant and said the automaker did not plan to add a new vehicle there.
July 16, 2019
GM and the UAW formally kicked off talks for a new four-year labor deal, with Jones calling on the automaker to keep open plants it had slated for shutdown.
Aug. 28, 2019
The FBI conducted searches at the home of Jones and other locations as part of a corruption probe into illegal payments to union officials.
Sept. 3, 2019
The UAW said it would target GM first in talks with the Detroit automakers for contracts set to expire on Sept. 14.
Sept. 12, 2019
U.S. prosecutors’ probe of alleged corruption within the UAW expanded with the arrest of a senior union official. In a criminal complaint released the following day, a source said Jones was one of the unnamed officials singled out.
Sept. 16, 2019
The UAW workers went on strike against GM. The automaker disclosed it offered the UAW more than $7 billion in new investments, solutions for the Lordstown and Detroit assembly plants that included a battery plant in Ohio and an electric vehicle for the Michigan plant, a pay increase and a contract-ratification bonus of $8,000.
Sept. 17, 2019
GM shifted health insurance costs for the striking workers to the UAW, prompting an outcry from the union and Democratic politicians. On Sept. 26, GM reversed its decision.
Oct. 1, 2019
The UAW rejected a new offer from GM to end the strike. Five days later, UAW senior negotiator Terry Dittes said the talks took a “turn for the worse” and later called on GM to boost U.S. auto production.
Oct. 10, 2019
The union disclosed that GM’s Barra met with the UAW’s Jones and Dittes at the company’s Detroit headquarters, seeking to speed up talks, as the strike neared its fourth week.
Oct. 11, 2019
GM took the unusual step of appealing directly to striking employees, circumventing UAW’s leadership, in a blog post that laid out the terms of its latest offer aimed at ending the strike, upsetting the UAW in the process. The union accused GM of undermining the talks.
Oct. 15, 2019
The sides near a deal after Barra and GM President Mark Reuss join the bargaining table.
Oct. 16, 2019
The UAW and GM announce they reached a tentative agreement, which still must be approved by the members before the strike will officially end.
Oct. 17, 2019
The UAW released highlights of the tentative four-year deal, which includes pay raises, better coverage for temporary workers and other benefits, but also will allow the automaker to close three plants, including the idled car plant in Lordstown, Ohio.
Oct. 25, 2019
The UAW said 57% of its members voted to ratify the deal, ending the strike after 40 days.
Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Joe White and Matthew Lewis