DETROIT — A proposed contract with General Motors that more than 46,000 UAW members are voting on this week contains lucrative bonuses and wage gains, but it doesn't bring any production from Mexico to the U.S. or save three plants that shut down this year.
The UAW's national strike against the automaker will extend at least through Friday, Oct. 25, as the tentative agreement GM reached last week with union leaders goes to the rank and file for ratification.
UAW officials are touting the fact that the deal addresses many top priorities: wage increases, a path to permanent employment for temporary workers, no increase in health care costs and a shorter wait for new hires to earn top wages. Full-time hourly workers would receive bonuses of $11,000 and 4 percent of their annual pay shortly after ratifying the contract.
"A lot now depends on how they explain it to members and how transparent they are," Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., told Automotive News.
But the UAW's failure to save Lordstown Assembly in Ohio and two transmission plants in Michigan and Maryland has put many members on edge and could complicate ratification. If the deal passes, the UAW would then use it as a framework for contracts with Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
"You really never walk away completely satisfied," said a member of the UAW's GM council who asked not to be identified. "You hope and pray your membership understands."
The GM council's decision last week to endorse the contract but continue the strike to at least 40 days is an unusual move for the union, but if UAW members return to work and then reject the contract, "the leverage is gone," said Art Schwartz, a former GM negotiator who's now president of Labor and Economics Associates.