DETROIT — The United Auto Workers (UAW) union and General Motors Co. reached a tentative deal on a new labor contract on Oct. 16 that covers wages and benefits for 46,000 hourly workers after a 31-day national strike against Detroit's largest auto maker.
It was not immediately clear when the work stoppage, currently the longest against GM since 1970, would end.
The union's national GM council will gather in Detroit on the morning of Oct. 17 to discuss the tentative deal and vote on whether to immediately end the walkout or continue it until the tentative agreement is ratified by members.
GM did not have an immediate comment on the UAW's announcement, the firm's shares increased by 2.5 percent to $37.18 in midday trading.
An end to the strike would bring relief not only to union members who have lived for nearly a month on $250 weekly strike pay (which on Oct. 13 was bumped up to $275 weekly), but to dealers desperate for repair parts, suppliers waiting to fulfill orders and an auto maker that has hemorrhaged an estimated $50 million to $100 million per day as its inventory has dwindled.
Details of the proposed pact were not immediately available. However, GM's most recent offer to the union included plans to invest $7.7 billion in U.S. plants, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Reuters reported GM's proposal included guarantees to hire temporary workers to full-time positions after logging three years with the company.
GM also proposed 3% pay raises in the second and fourth year of the four-year pact, and 3% and 4% lump sum payments in the first and fourth year, respectively, Reuters reported. GM reportedly would offer full-time workers a $9,000 ratification bonus and temporary workers a $3,000 bonus, according to Reuters.
Union members are expected to hold ratification votes on the deal in the coming weeks.
"The number one priority of the national negotiation team has been to secure a strong and fair contract that our members deserve," UAW Vice President Terry Dittes, who is the director of the UAW GM Department, said in a statement. "Out of respect for our members, we will refrain from commenting on the details until the UAW GM leaders gather together and receive all details."
The union struck GM late Sept. 15. Analysts estimated the work stoppage cost GM about $1 million per plant, per hour. The union, facing the prospect of plant closings in Michigan and Ohio, sought greater job security, protections for temporary employees, wage increases and a quicker path to top wages for all workers.
GM, Detroit's most profitable auto maker in recent years, wanted greater flexibility to manage employment levels in the event of a downturn in the U.S. new-vehicle market. It also pressed the union to shoulder more costs for health care coverage.
GM CEO Mary Barra and President Mark Reuss met UAW leaders on Oct. 15 at main table discussions. It was the second time Barra was directly involved, after calling a meeting with top union officials the week prior to help speed up negotiations.
If members ratify the deal, negotiations would move to either Ford or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Representatives for both auto makers have continued initial discussions with union bargainers while the focus was on GM.