GM and the United Auto Workers announced they had reached a deal Wednesday to end their five-week strike. The walk-out was the longest and costliest labor battle the auto industry had seen in decades, costing GM an estimated $2 billion.
"The number one priority of the national negotiation team has been to secure a strong and fair contract that our members deserve,” said UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement. "Out of respect for our members, we will refrain from commenting on the details until the UAW GM leaders gather together and receive all details."
The union's estimated 48,000 GM workers walked out on Sept. 16, seeking better pay, more profit-sharing, assurances that the company would not close down certain factories and an end to a multiple-tier pay system that separated newer hires from longtime workers. New hires at GM currently make only about half as much as longtime workers doing the same job. The union had agreed to this system a decade ago following the serious financial trouble for the automaker.
GM’s most recent offer reportedly included workers bonuses of $9,000, 3% pay raises in the contract's second and fourth year and 3% and 4% lump sum payments in the first and fourth year. It also agreed to limit the multiple tiers payscale by allowing workers with three years of service to move up the scale and give those workers a $3,000 bonus.