GM’s labor deal with UAW union on verge of ratification

By David Shepardson

(Reuters) – General Motors’ tentative labor deal with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union closed in on ratification as the votes were counted on Wednesday.

Following the approval earlier in the day by more than 60% of union members at the Detroit automaker’s large Arlington, Texas, assembly plant, additional votes in favor have the deal close to clinching majority approval. The number of union locals, most of which are smaller, still to report vote totals is not large.

After several large assembly plants voted against the deal earlier on Wednesday, some media had reported the deal was heading toward failure. But Arlington’s support, followed by strong voting in favor by smaller warehouse and parts facilities, has put the deal on the brink of approval.

This would mark the first ratification of a deal, which runs through April 2028, with one of the Detroit Three automakers. Ford and Stellantis voting is still under way, and workers at both companies were favoring ratification by comfortable margins.

The UAW’s GM vote tracking site currently shows approval of the contract leading by a 54% to 46% margin with almost 32,000 workers having cast votes out of about 46,000 UAW-represented GM workers. The Arlington plant, with about 5,000 UAW members, has the most of any GM plant.

Voting officially ends on Thursday at 4 p.m. EST, although most votes will be cast on Wednesday.

The UAW went on strike for more than six weeks against the Detroit Three, seeking better wages, working conditions and cost-of-living adjustments. All three companies agreed to tentative agreements about two weeks ago.

Workers at other GM assembly plants voted against the deal, including 60% of workers at its Fort Wayne, Indiana, truck plant, 53% at its Wentzville, Missouri, plant, 58% of workers at GM’s Lansing Grand River plant and 61% of workers at the Lansing Delta Township plant.

Seven of GM’s 11 assembly plants rejected the deal. In addition to Arlington, workers at plants in Detroit, Fairfax, Kansas; and Lake Orion, Michigan; approved the agreement.

Only nine facilities are still listed without vote totals on the UAW vote tracker, including GM’s Lockport, New York, components plant with about 1,200 members. Those voting in favor of the agreement have a lead of almost 2,500 and many of the facilities still to come include workers who stand to receive large pay increases upon ratification.

The UAW’s new agreement with GM grants a 25% increase in base wage through April 2028 and will cumulatively raise the top wage by 33%, compounded with estimated cost-of-living adjustments to over $42 an hour.

Currently, about 66% of Ford workers who have voted are in favor of the UAW deal, and about 72% of Stellantis workers have so far voted in favor, according to UAW figures. Ford voting is scheduled to finish on Friday, while Stellantis is set to close next Tuesday.

Automakers were previously slashing costs and navigating a bumpy road to manufacture EVs and catch up with market leader Tesla, but lower margins on those vehicles have deterred them from accelerating the move.

GM in October also pulled its full-year profit forecast due to the strike and postponed a $4 billion electric truck plant in Michigan.

(This story has been corrected to say the number of facilities still without vote totals to nine, not eight, in paragraph 10)

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Ben Klayman and Matthew Lewis)