Despite concerns that resulted in a closer than expected vote, General Motors (GM) union workers approved the deal negotiated by United Auto Workers (UAW) union.
The deal was supported by roughly 54% of the more than 34,700 autoworkers at GM who voted, according to results posted Nov. 16 by the union. Results are still outstanding at two smaller GM facilities representing about 1,400 hourly workers; those votes will not be enough to offset the current 2,500-vote margin.
After a strike that lasted six weeks, UAW President Shawn Fain was able to deliver on deals that represent significant economic gains when the deals were announced. Among the gins from the union workers viewpoint were a 25% pay increases; a path to secure future jobs battery plants and other auto related factories for union workers; and the ability to organize at other non-union automakers operating in the U.S.
Concerns about passage had grown this week as a majority of the GM large assembly plants rejected the pact. Observers noted the GM voting was closer due to the automaker having the highest number of traditional workers on a percentage basis compared to the rest of Detroit’s Big 3.
This cohort of workers have voiced disapproval for the wage increases granted to them by the deals, compared to those offered to newer hire, as well as with pension contributions and retirement benefits. But their concerns in the end weren’t in large enough numbers to offset support at other union plants.
No Dealer Issues
The economic impact for the price of a car is expected to be about $850-$900, said to Ford CFO John Lawler after the UAW deal was announced last month.
But the most recent sales figures for U.S. car dealers showed the strike did not have an effect duing the walkout. October new-vehicle sales in the U.S. continued to remain strong despite as initial estimates show the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) came in right at the year-to-date average of 15.5 million, and sales volume was 1.2 million in October, according to Cox Automotive.
“While the UAW strike [certainly slowed] down production at select assembly plants across the U.S., the impact has not yet fully materialized for consumers in the showroom,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, in a press statement. “Compared to this point last year, industry inventory levels are much higher, which is helping support—to this point at least—relatively healthy new-vehicle sales.”