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UAW and GM reach tentative contract agreement

Flickr User Brandon C

The United Auto Workers and General Motors have reached a tentative contract agreement that could end a month-long strike against the automaker.

Some analysts say the deal shows unions still wield considerable clout.

The strike has caused financial pain for both UAW members and G-M.

Union workers are existing on strike pay that is only a fraction of their usual wage…while the work-stoppage has cut an estimated one-and-a-half billion dollars from G-M’s bottom line.

One of the nation’s foremost labor analysts, the University of California – Berkeley’s Harley Shaiken, says costing G-M that kind of revenue shows unions retain substantial leverage in negotiations, despite dwindling membership.

“GM’s a very profitable company. But when you start losing billions it focuses the mind.”

The nationwide strike has rippled beyond the UAW, causing parts shortages, and thousands of layoffs.

G-M officials, in the midst of restructuring as sales have slowed, have pledged to cut labor costs.  

The United Auto Workers Union and General Motors have reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract that could end the month-long strike.

Details of the agreement have not been released, but the union was demanding pay raises and assurances that more GM vehicles would be built in the U.S.

Two GM plants in Lansing have been closed by the strike. The vice president of Local 602, Steve Delaney, says the UAW’s national council will discuss the deal on Thursday. The council could decide to wait until the contract is ratified before sending workers back to their jobs.