Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on GM, UAW deal

Many labor experts and union leaders say the UAW got a good deal from General Motors and expect union members to ratify it. Wayne State University's Marick Masters said he believes the union membership will ratify the deal because UAW leadership was careful to involve subcommittees in the negotiation process and, through them, the rank-and-file. "They clearly had a voice in what was agreed to in the tentative package," said Masters, director of labor at Wayne State. "Second, the workers have already been out on strike five weeks and will be out another week at least to vote on it. The psychology sets in that you probably got the best deal you’ll get so if you reject this contract and try to go back to get a better one, the marginal gain will not be worth what you have to sacrifice." There are a lot of cash gains for union members in the deal. Part of that might have come from the proposal calling to close the joint training center in Detroit, said Wayne State's Masters. The UAW-GM Center for Human Resources opened in 2000. It is one of three such centers — and the largest and most elegant —for joint training efforts between GM, Ford and Chrysler and the UAW. Among other uses, trainers work with employees on safety and operational initiatives at the sites. The UAW-GM center is occasionally used by outside groups. “There’s a recognition that perhaps those joint training programs, though well intended, haven’t proven as effective as they would like them to be and they’ve created some problems of governance and administrations that both sides would like to see go away," said Masters. "That also frees up any money that would go into that, to now go into the payouts to the workers," said Masters.

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