National UAW Strike Takes a Recess

By Forrest Sanders | 

General Motors calls it one of the most complex bargaining sessions in the history of the GM/UAW relationship. On Sept. 26, it may have come to an end. The real resolution is still a vote away, but regardless, UAW members are back at work, and they're making up for lost time.

On Sept. 25, UAW members were striking in the streets and rally support. The next day, it was a different story. Corvette plant employees have put down the picket signs and are back on the job.

"We are pleased to announce that at 3:05 this morning, we've reached a tentative agreement with the General Motors corporation pending ratification by our membership," assured UAW President Ron Gettelfinger.

That tentative agreement includes a wage rate for employees that will be frozen for four years. But the agreement doesn't only benefit current employees.

"We were able to maintain the benefit level for our retirees, and ensure that in our administration, our retirees will continue to receive their benefits as they always have," explained Eldon Renuad, UAW local president.

In a statement, GM CEO Rick Wagoner says, "The projected competitive improvements in this agreement will allow us to maintain a strong manufacturing presence in the United States along with significant future investments."

But the agreement hasn't been approved by the 73,000 members of UAW just yet.

"There'll be a vote whether to ratify or not to ratify. And then, you have a contract once the majority of people across the country ratify the agreement," Renaud added.

That vote will likely take place next week, and there is still a chance that UAW employees will return to the picket lines.

But for now, Renaud is just thankful for the temporary work stoppage, just so that UAW's concerns could be heard.

"They need the cars, we need the jobs. We all need the money, so we're all pleased to get back to work," Renaud said.

He added that a mandatory work day has been scheduled for this Saturday at seven plants across the country including the Corvette Plant. The work day has been designed to bring vehicle production up to speed.

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