Detroit News: Marick Masters on GM, UAW deal

United Auto Workers striking General Motors Co. for the past month demanded the return of production from Mexico and reversal of plans to close the sprawling Lordstown Assembly complex in northeast Ohio’s Mahoning Valley. They got neither in the tentative agreement more than 48,000 members will consider this week. But they stand to get raises and bonuses that outpace current inflation, the elimination of the $12,000 cap on profit-sharing payouts and a record $11,000 ratification bonus — a markedly more lucrative contract compared with their deal four years ago. The automaker plans to shut down operations at Lordstown Assembly Complex in northeast Ohio, Baltimore Operations in Maryland and Warren Transmission in Michigan. The moves, strongly opposed by the UAW leaders and members alike, are expected to save the company billions. "If I were GM and I'm trying to spin this, I would say we protected our ability to move product wherever we want to, and that a lot of the increases we provided are not fixed into the base and are contingent on the performance of the (company)," said Marick Masters, business professor and former director of labor studies at Wayne State University. In the 2015 contract, the union got 64 holidays over four years. In 2019, it got 66 holidays over four years. Overall, the agreement is positive for the union, Wayne State's Masters said. "I don't think they took a step backwards," he said. "I think they took a step forwards. These are pretty big achievements by the union's bargaining team. I think my sense is they pushed it as far as they could. They weren't going to get the assurances of plant allocations that they wanted."

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