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GM, UAW could be close to proposed contract and ending long strike

four men holding picket signs
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

As the UAW's strike against GM enters its fifth week, the two sides may finally be close to reaching a proposed deal on a new contract.

The talks have been unusually difficult, with negotiators struggling to resolve disputes over job security, temporary workers, health insurance, and wage increases. 

But neither side walked away from the table, despite some angry rhetoric from the union. Union leaders said on Friday GM was not negotiating in good faith and was attempting to "starve" workers to force them off the picket line. Workers have been getting $250 in strike pay a week.

Tuesday morning, GM CEO Mary Barra took part in the talks.  The union also has summoned its local presidents to Detroit. 

Kristin Dziczek is Vice President of Industry, Labor & Economics with the Center for Automotive Research.

"I think it's all positive signs," says Dzickek.  "And then bringing in the leadership from the locals, it could very well be that they expect to have a tentative agreement by Thursday. "

Members will have to ratify any agreement. Voting usually takes two weeks, but Dzickek says the union may speed up the vote given the length of the strike, which has caused financial difficulties both for the workers and GM.  

If there is a proposed contract, union leaders will have to decide whether to keep workers on the picket line during the voting, or bring them back to the factory floor.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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