DETROIT -- General Motors agreed to add jobs, hike Tier 2 wages, and offer buyouts for skilled trades workers under a tentative, 4-year labor pact reached with the UAW.
Upon ratification of the deal, eligible workers will receive a $5,000 signing bonus - a move that will cost GM about $242.5 million, Bloomberg reported.
The union -- in a statement -- said the accord also enhanced profit-sharing and successfully resisted major changes sought by GM that would have weakened the automaker's retirement plan for hourly workers.
Under the agreement, GM will recall workers on layoff, create new jobs and transfer jobs from overseas to U.S. factories, the UAW said.
A source familiar with the matter said GM also agreed to restart production at an idled assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tenn.
New products have also been promised to plants in Romulus, Mich.; Warren, Mich.; and Wentzville, Mo., several media outlets said.
GM's assembly plant in Janesville, Wis., will remain on standby status, but will not close, the Associated Press reported.
GM also sought major concessions in health care, but the UAW said it protected health care benefits and made some significant improvements to benefits.
Shaiken called the tentative agreement "impressive" in a tough economy.
The agreement, covering some 48,000 workers, came together late Friday after a final, 14-hour bargaining session.
Specific terms of the deal were not released, but the union said in a statement it "will get our members who have been laid off back to work, will create new jobs in our communities and will bring work back to the United States from other countries."
GM's hourly retirees will see no reduction in benefits, but no significant gains, the Detroit Free Press said.
The agreement marks another milestone for GM's turnaround.
Some critics said Detroit's automakers wouldn't or shouldn't survive the Great Recession and plunge in U.S. car and light truck sales in 2008, followed by the bankruptcy filings of GM and Chrysler in 2009.
"In these uncertain economic times for American workers and faced with the globalization of the economy, the UAW approached these negotiations with new strategies and fought for and achieved some of our major goals for our members, including significant investments and products for our plants," UAW President Bob King said in the statement.
Sharing in comeback
In the two years since its controversial government-supported restructuring, GM has unveiled investments of over $5.1 billion and created or retained almost 13,000 jobs throughout its U.S. manufacturing operations.
And in a weak economy, GM's U.S. light vehicle sales have climbed 16 percent this year through August, compared with an 11 percent gain for the overall market. The automaker earned $5.7 billion in the first half of 2011 and is on pace to recapture the global sales crown this year from earthquake-hampered Toyota Motor Corp.
The UAW also credited and paid tribute to President Obama's indirect role in the talks and the auto industry's recovery.
"None of this would have been possible without the efforts of President Obama, who invested federal funds to help turn the company around, protect the auto supplier base and keep good-paying jobs in America," King said.
The union, without providing specifics, said the agreement also includes an improved and more transparent profit-sharing plan -- a key goal of GM management as well.
Several sources said profit-sharing payouts will be more closely tied to quality and other performance measures - another priority for the company.
The Detroit Free Press, citing a person familiar with the deal, said the new profit-sharing formula will also now include income from GM's entire North American operations, not just U.S. plants.
With the new formula, the average profit-sharing check from last year's $5.7 billion profit in North America would have been between $5,000 and $6,000, instead of the $4,000 workers received, the source told the Free Press.
Future profit-sharing payouts will be determined by a simple chart that provides ranges of profits and corresponding payments, the paper said. Payouts will also be capped.
GM must make at least $1 billion in North America to pay a UAW bonus, Bloomberg reported, citing a GM source. The profit-sharing checks would roughly equal $1,000 per $1 billion in North American profit, Bloomberg said.
"When GM was struggling, our members shared in the sacrifice," UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who directs the union's General Motors Department, said in a statement released last night. "Now that the company is posting profits again, our members want to share in the success."