Sep 27 2007

UAW – GM Reach a Tentative Agreement

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GUEST:Susan Helper, professor of regional economic development at Case Western University in Ohio

A two-day national strike against General Motors Corporation came to an end early Wednesday morning after the United Auto Workers reached a tentative agreement. Though full details of the new contract have not been made available, the two sides are said to have agreed on a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, or VEBA health care trust fund. Three former UAW International Executive Board Members published a letter in the New York Times to UAW officers cautioning against any VEBA proposals. The letter stated that “such a proposal, if ratified as part of a new collective agreement would represent a radical shift in the traditions of our union.” Workers could return to the picket line if they ultimately decide not to ratify the contract. Voting could start as early as this weekend, as union leaders will be briefed before then. The tentative agreement ended the first nationwide strike against the corporation in thirty-seven years. At the time of the last strike in 1970, the union boasted a membership of 1.6 million. Now numbers for the union are below 600,000.

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