Reaction to tentative deal reached between UAW-GM

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS/AP) — United Auto Workers members employed by General Motors are expressing relief as a month-long strike appears to be nearing its end.

The deal was hammered out Wednesday, but it won’t immediately end the strike by more than 49,000 workers. They will stay on the picket lines while union committees vote on the deal. Then, the entire membership will have to give its approval.

Neither GM, nor the UAW have released specifics about the deal. But the Detroit Free Press reports there will be an 3-4 percent increase in wages and one-time payments.

The Detroit-Hamtramck plant will remain open, with workers there building an electric pickup.

And temporary workers will have a path to become full-time employees, a key sticking point in negotiations.

“It’s mainly the temps is who I’d like to see lifted up,” Gary Fredericks, a UAW-GM employee said. “I’ve been with the company 22 years. I feel like I’ve been taken care of very, very well. It’s their turn.”

John Rivette, an emeritus professor of human resources and labor relations at Michigan State University, says he believes GM didn’t expect the union to be so united on the issues surrounding the strike.

“I think they might have been surprised, and didn’t expect that the union was going to be willing to do such a lengthy strike,” he said.

The prospect of going back to work has UAW workers celebrating.

“We’re excited,” Matthew Sleeman said. “I think we all want to get back in and start building these cars again.”

Rivette says it’s not just the UAW workers who are excited the strike appears to be over. He says suppliers and their employees will be thrilled.

“After a week or so of the strike, their factories, their parts supplier factories closed down,” he said. “And they weren’t getting strike pay from the union, and they weren’t getting income from their employers, and they were just out.”

The UAW will meet with GM officials Thursday in Detroit, and a press conference will immediately follow. 6 News will have a crew at the meeting. Watch for coverage on air and on wlns.com.

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