Local UAW president: ‘There’s a lot at stake’

FILE - GM's Fort Wayne Assembly plant

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The United Auto Workers union and General Motors have reached a tentative agreement on a new, four-year contract. That agreement happened 16 minutes before the midnight deadline Sunday night, however, negotiations have just begun.

Roughly 4,000 members are GM employees and they’re waiting anxiously because it’s too soon to tell what this means for them.

The contract, which is re-negotiated every four years, sets the wages, benefits package and retirement. Right now, members are also fighting against tiered wages.

“There’s a lot at stake with this agreement, both locally and nationally as far our membership goes and they’re very anxious to see the terms of the agreement and weigh their vote,” Brian Hartman, President of UAW local 2209 said.

Hartman said with out seeing the details of the contract, he can’t comment on his confidence that this will be resolved. However, based on the recent Chrysler contract, he’s hopeful it’ll have some significant economic gains.

GM isn’t commenting until the contract is ratified, however, issued the following statement:

“The new UAW-GM national agreement is good for employees and the business,” Cathy Clegg, Vice President of GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations said, “Working with our UAW partners, we developed constructive solutions that benefit employees and provide flexibility for the company to respond to the needs of the marketplace.”

Local union leaders will meet Wednesday in Detroit to vote on the tentative agreement. If approved, GM’s hourly workers nationwide will vote on it. Hartman said during Chrysler’s negotiation process, there was a short lead time.

“They gave considerable more time to understand the language in the contract before they made their vote so I think that this will follow suit. I think there will probably be, in my guess, probably two weeks before we actually vote on the agreement,” said Hartman.

Until that ratification vote, GM isn’t elaborating on the terms of the agreement publicly.

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