What does tentative UAW deal mean for workers?
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — After six weeks of striking, nearly 50,000 workers who walked out may be heading back to the production line. General Motors and United Auto Workers reached a tentative deal.
GM workers locally have been on standby waiting to get the word if they would have to go on strike along with their co-workers. The UAW President believes this agreement is historic and workers remain hopefully while waiting for the details.
“We do have people who are like, ‘I can’t afford to go on strike. I have bills to pay. I have kids to feed. I can’t save money because I’m barely breaking even every month.’ We have to stand up and fight now,” Carmen Guzman, an Assembly Line worker with the GM plant in Rochester said.
However — good news — the fight is over. The stand-up strike against Detroit’s big three has been suspended.
“In 2019, we went on a strike for more than a month and we really didn’t get much for the GMCH plants. So, fingers crossed,” Guzman said.
She has worked for GM for a decade. Although she hasn’t seen the details of the tentative deal, she hopes wages are increased and temporary employees become permanent staff after 90 days instead, of several years.
Guzman is also hoping for one thing she believes would be a major win and game changer for her and her colleagues.
“Wage equality for regular GM is a huge thing that will, in terms of starting wages, basically double everyone’s starting wages there. For most of us it will put us up another $10 or $11 more,” Guzman said.
Wages have remained stagnant and an issue that has been on the minds of many GM workers. Guzman explains while the cost of living has increased, it’s harder for families to keep up.
“We have people in the plant that have kids that must work second jobs to put food on the table. We have people with kids that are eligible for SNAP and other forms of government assistance. It’s because the staffing wages are not keeping up,” Guzman said.
The President of the Rochester UAW Dan Maloney hasn’t seen the details of the tentative agreement yet. But UAW President Shawn Fain says it includes a 25% base wage increase through April 2028, cost of living allowances, and enhanced retirement benefits.
Maloney discussed the next step moving forward.
“We’ll go out to Detroit, they will roll out the information, and then we will bring it back to our membership,” he said.
Afterwards there will still be additional steps in the process before the contract is finalized. It will be up to union members like Guzman to approve the contract.
“Yes, we deserve it. We make the cars that they sell to make their profit.” Guzman said.
These tentative agreements still must be ratified by roughly 50,000 union members.