GM and UAW Reach Tentative Agreement

By Jeremy Hubbard, ABC News | 

With a tentative agreement between GM and the UAW pretty much a done deal, some auto workers could be back on the job by early afternoon on Sept 26.

Rank and file members still have to okay the deal.

Early on Sept. 26, GM union workers put down their picket signs ending the first national strike against the nation's largest automaker in 37 years.

"We're pleased to announce that at 3:05 a.m. this morning, we reached at tentative agreement with GM," UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said.

"There was ups and downs the whole time. I'm just glad it's over for our membership and everyone really in the whole country," added UAW member Mark Yates.

The union ended the two-day strike, after settling a major sticking point with General Motors. The company wanted to shift most of its massive unfunded retiree health care plan to a union-run trust fund.

Under the deal, GM would pay $36-billion into the fund. The union would then invest the money and take over the health care costs for more than 300,000 GM retirees and spouses.

"I think the strike probably helped our side more than theirs," Gettelfinger continued.

"As long as you know your company's behind you," one member said.

A source close to the negotiation tells the Associated Press that under the deal, union members will also get a lump-sum bonus once a year. Analysts say the agreement is especially good news for workers in Ford and Chrysler plants.

"Those union talks are up next and both of those companies should be very happy because they will get the same deal," added Melody Hobson, ABC News financial contributor.

In a statement, GM said this will will make it more competitive and strengthen manufacturing base in the US.

GM says the deal would make it significantly more competitive and provide the basis for maintaining and strengthening its core manufacturing base in the United States.

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