UAW strikes tentative deal with auto parts maker Allison Transmission

-The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has reached agreement with auto parts maker Allison Transmission Holdings Inc on a tentative deal covering 1,500 workers in Indianapolis, the labor group said on Friday.

The four-year contract guarantees a starting wage of $20 an hour for UAW employees and retroactive pay hikes until Nov. 15 last year, and two categories of bonus that amount to $7,000, the union said.

“All bargaining unit employees with more than four years of seniority will immediately receive traditional pay, with a general wage increase on top of that,” the UAW said, a reference to what it said was the ‘schedule D top rate’.

“The agreement has been endorsed by the International UAW and Local 933 leadership and is subject to ratification by union members”, Allison Transmission said in an email to Reuters.

“No deal is perfect, but this one comes damn close,” said George Freeman, chairman of the panel representing the workers, adding that he expected workers would vote for it.

The workers have sought improved terms after a labor contract expired on Nov. 14. They had overwhelmingly voted to reject an earlier offer from Allison, as it refused to address “core demands”, the UAW said.

The plans included an end to wage and shift premium tiers, gains of 6% to 8% for 401k contributions and an increase in legacy pensions to $59.45 by contract end, the UAW said.

The worker demands follow a larger pattern of U.S. unions pressing companies for better wages, benefits and working conditions.

Led by hard-charging president Shawn Fain, the UAW adopted aggressive negotiating tactics against the Detroit Three automakers last year, to secure record contracts for workers.

Allison, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, makes fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and U.S. defense vehicles, as well as electrified propulsion systems.

Its customers include the Pentagon, Traton SE, Daimler AG and PACCAR.

Allison reported profit of $503 million for the nine months through Sept. 30, up about 29% on the year, drawing about 74% of revenue from North America, its latest annual filing showed.

(Reporting by Gokul Pisharody and Aatreyee Dasgupta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler)