The United Auto Workers union won a sweeter deal with General Motors than one approved with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles approved last week.
GM’s ratification payment of $8,000 for all members is at least double what those at FiatChrysler received. And the profit-sharing formula will remain the same as in the previous contract — not the revised Fiat Chrysler formula — which should provide bigger payouts at a company the size of GM.
The tentative agreement, reached late Sunday, will give the so-called Tier 2 workers the same healthcare benefits and eventually the same wage as senior workers. It goes to rank-and- file members for a vote.
The UAW pushed for a better deal with GM because the automaker is larger and more profitable than Fiat Chrysler. GM last week reported a $1.36 billion profit for the third quarter. With strong earnings, UAW leaders probably need better terms from GM and from Ford Motor Co. to win ratification votes.
GM, which announced another expansion of its Arlington Assembly Plant this summer, has more than 4,000 employees in Arlington.
Fiat Chrysler workers voted down one tentative agreement that would have raised the hourly wage of newer workers to as much as $25 from $19 before approving one that would let them eventually earn more than $29 — the same as senior workers.
“The council was very happy with this agreement,” UAW President Dennis Williams said Wednesday at a news conference at the union’s headquarters in Detroit. “We don’t see any drama with this.”
After granting concessions in 2007 to try to help U.S. automakers stem losses and again during the 2009 bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, union members are eager to regain some ground. Back then, the UAW agreed to a lower wage for entry-level workers, who also had weaker healthcare benefits. Those differences have mostly been eliminated for active employees; in retirement the newer employees won’t get a pension or company-paid medical care.
“In the eyes of workers, they saved General Motors with concessions and now they want to be rewarded for it,” said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.