As the United Auto Workers (UAW) union continues attempts to ratify new contract agreements with Big Three automakers General Motors (GM), Ford and Stellantis, one GM plant in Michigan has narrowly voted against the recently proposed deal following a historic six-week strike.
GM secured a tentative deal with the UAW late last month after Ford and Stellantis had come to tentative agreements within the prior week. The strike-ending agreements followed the initial walkouts against all three automakers on September 14 after previous union contracts expired and multiple waves of strike escalations in the weeks in between.
Since coming to the tentative agreements, the UAW is going to local chapters to explain the deals and have them ratified by workers through a vote. On Thursday, UAW Local 598 workers at GM’s Flint, Michigan assembly plant said they narrowly voted against adopting the contract, with 51.8 percent of votes cast going against the proposal, according to Reuters.
GM’s Flint assembly plant has 4,746 employees, and the factory produces the Chevy Silverado truck. GM did not comment on the process of ratification.
While GM is scheduled to continue holding votes on the contracts with additional local chapters, the news highlights the fact that the contracts are not yet a done deal — even following the costly strikes and lengthy negotiation period.
Workers at major GM plants including its Arlington, Texas assembly plant and its Fort Wayne, Indiana truck factory will vote in the weeks ahead. According to one UAW vote tracker, roughly 58 percent of GM workers across facilities who have cast votes so far have voted in favor of ratifying the contract.
The proposed UAW agreement would cover around 46,000 GM workers, including 25 percent in base wage increases through the contract’s April 2028 deadline, along with the automaker gradually increasing the top wage by as much as 33 percent. In addition, the proposal includes cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) that boost total worker pay to more than $42 per hour.
Despite the rejection of the contract at the Flint facility, some say GM is unlikely to offer much more than what it has already offered. University of Michigan professor Erik Gordon thinks chances are low for GM to go much higher.
“The chances of GM putting more than another 15 cents on the table are low,” Gordon said.
GM’s tentative contract includes almost $2 billion in investments going toward electric vehicle (EV) development at plants in Michigan, Kansas and New York. Late last month, GM also announced the delay of a key EV plant in Tennessee, and the company has separately announced plans to slow some other EV investments.
A major sticking point during early rounds of negotiations with the Big Three included adding coverage to future EV battery and auto plants, though the automakers eventually gave in.
The news also follows a nightmarish month for GM, even beyond the strikes.
GM’s self-driving subsidiary Cruise had a driverless vehicle drag and pin a woman in San Francisco in early October, for which the company’s driverless permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) was immediately revoked. It has since been reported that GM will halt production of Cruise’s self-driving Origin van, and the company is currently reviewing its response process following the accident.
Watch below to see UAW President Shawn Fain’s Wednesday ratification update.