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UAW picket signs outside a GM plant in Detroit. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

A tentative 4-year labor contract with the United Auto Workers lets GM shutter underutilized factories as it wanted, but could also lock in higher labor costs across the domestic auto industry.

Why it matters: Detroit typically follows "pattern" bargaining — the economic terms struck at one company are generally matched by other UAW-represented automakers, setting a uniform standard of living for all unionized auto workers.

  • But the terms laid out Thursday would do little to lower labor costs ahead of what automakers anticipate will be a disruptive and expensive decade of change, writes the Detroit News.

What's happening: Factory workers at GM will receive big bonuses and keep their lucrative health benefits under the proposed contract, which is subject to ratification by 49,000 striking workers. They'll continue to walk the picket lines until the vote is completed a week from today.

  • "I'm sure neither Ford nor Chrysler is going to be thrilled with the economics of this deal," GM's former director of labor relations, Arthur Schwartz, now a consultant, told the News.
  • The record-setting $11,000 signing bonus GM is offering UAW members, along with the lack of changes to current health care benefits, will be costly to Ford, which has more hourly UAW workers than GM.
  • Changes to pay for workers hired after 2007 and temporary workers that were hot-button issues during the GM contract talks could be expensive to FCA, which has a younger workforce.

Yes, but: The concept of pattern bargaining has weakened in recent years, and it will be up to negotiators on both sides of the table at Ford and FCA to hammer out their own deals in the coming weeks.

Go deeper: Health benefits won't change for GM workers

Go deeper

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

The quick FCC fix that would get more students online

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the pandemic forces students out of school, broadband deployment programs aren't going to move fast enough to help families in immediate need of better internet access. But Democrats at the Federal Communications Commission say the incoming Biden administration could put a dent in that digital divide with one fast policy change.

State of play: An existing FCC program known as E-rate provides up to $4 billion for broadband at schools, but Republican FCC chairman Ajit Pai has resisted modifying the program during the pandemic to provide help connecting students at home.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

America's hidden depression

Biden introduces his pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, on Dec. 1. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Biden faces a fragile recovery that could easily fall apart, as the economy remains in worse shape than most people think.

Why it matters: There is a recovery happening. But it's helping some people immensely and others not at all. And it's that second part that poses a massive risk to the Biden-Harris administration's chance of success.