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Thursday, September 27, 2007
GM Unloads Retiree Health Costs, While UAW Gets Promises on Jobs in Tentative Contract Deal
The two sides tentatively agreed Wednesday to a groundbreaking agreement that allows GM to move its unfunded retiree health care costs into an independent trust administered by the UAW. The union also agreed to lower wages for some workers. In exchange, the UAW won commitments from GM to invest in U.S. plants, bonuses and an agreement to hire thousands of temporary workers which will boost UAW membership, according to a person who was briefed on the contract. The person requested anonymity because the details haven't been publicly released.
Wall Street applauded news of the deal, sending GM shares up more than 9 percent.
The union said the agreement with the nation's largest automaker was reached shortly after 3 a.m. The UAW canceled its two-day strike about an hour later and workers were back in GM's 80 U.S. facilities Wednesday afternoon. GM lost production of around 25,000 vehicles due to the strike, according to CSM Worldwide Inc. Analysts had suggested a short strike could actually improve GM's outlook because it would cut back on inventory levels.