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UAW to Begin Contract Ratification Process; GM Production Back to Normal

The UAW leadership has called local presidents and shop chairs to Detroit on Friday, September 28, to share details of the union’s tentative contract agreement with General Motors.

September 28, 2007
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The UAW leadership has called local presidents and shop chairs to Detroit on Friday, September 28, to share details of the union’s tentative contract agreement with General Motors.

Members of the UAW's National GM Council will vote to take the four-year agreement to the rank and file, says Chris “Tiny” Sherwood, president of UAW Local 652 in Lansing, Michigan.

Sherwood says Tuesday, October 2, is the earliest the agreement could go before the rank and file for a vote. A regional UAW meeting is scheduled Saturday in Lansing so elected and appointed local representatives can be briefed on the contract terms, Sherwood says.

Production returned to normal at GM Friday, Septemberafter the tentative settlement was reached on Wednesday, September 26. Some 73,000 hourly employees to return to work at more than 80 U.S. assembly plants and facilities.

The UAW called its first national strike against GM in 37 years at 11 a.m. Monday, September 24. The two sides reached the tentative agreement at 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Most GM plants restarted with the second shift Wednesday afternoon.

The tentative agreement calls for the establishment of a UAW-controlled health care benefit trust for retirees and broad improvements in U.S. plant productivity. Neither GM nor the UAW would confirm details of the agreement.

The UAW has not yet announced the ratification schedule.

“I'm not sure on the timing,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said Wednesday during an interview on WJR-AM radio in Detroit. “We want to get the ratification process under way in such a way that the membership has ample time to make an informed decision.”

The UAW also must decide on whether to negotiate next with Ford Motor Co., Chrysler or both at the same time.

“There's no reason at this point why we can't get both of those done at the same time,” Gettelfinger says. “If we run into difficulty at one or the other, then we'll make a decision. I would hope we could do that. I’m not saying that’s what we will do.”

Filed by David Barkholz and Philip Nussel of Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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