Lightbody, however, said he is "very concerned" about the automakers' long-term labor competitiveness in the U.S.
"They did very little to mitigate health care costs," he said. "And they didn't get very far in terms of cost offsets that the U.S. transplants have in terms of utilization of temporary workers."
Ford, GM and FCA all wanted expanded use of temporary workers, who get paid less and receive fewer benefits than hourly employees. While FCA figures weren't available, Ford and GM's temporary employees made up 6 and 7 percent of their total work force, respectively.
By comparison, roughly 20 percent of U.S. workers at transplant automakers are temps.
Ford negotiated an 8 percent cap on its total number of temporary workers, and though GM does have a total cap, it has to follow limitations based on absenteeism rates at each plant.
Attempts to curb health care costs went nowhere. GM initially proposed that workers pay 15 percent of their health care tab, well below the national average of 28 percent but far higher than the 3 to 4 percent workers currently pay. Ford and FCA each asked that workers pay 20 percent, the union said, but ultimately agreed to keep costs the same after the union protested.
"Health care is seen as a sacred cow by the UAW," Lightbody said. "It's one of those elements in the contract that's almost untouchable."
Dziczek said lowering health care costs was a long-shot goal for the automakers, even before the GM strike.
"It's a really difficult thing to do in an environment where the companies are so profitable and health care is such an important and emotional benefit," she said.