Oct 17, 2019

Rich payouts and plant closures in GM labor deal

Photo: United Auto Workers General Motors Training Center in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/Contributor/ Getty Images

Factory workers at General Motors will receive big bonuses and keep their lucrative health benefits under a proposed four-year labor contract, but union bargainers were unable to rescue three U.S. factories slated for closure.

Why it matters: The deal ends the longest nationwide strike at GM in a half-century. But relations remain raw as the automaker and its workforce struggle to adjust to disruptive technology changes roiling the industry.

Details: The economic benefits for workers are among the best in years, a reward for their sacrifices during GM's 2009 bankruptcy.

  • Workers will receive 3% raises in the second and fourth years of their contracts and 4% lump sums in the first and third years.
  • They'll also receive $11,000 each when the contract is ratified ($4,500 for temporary workers) and no limit to the amount of year-end profit-sharing they could receive, which hit a record $10,750 last year.
  • Workers will retain their current health care benefits, with no additional out-of-pocket costs.
  • The deal shortens the pathway for lower-paid temporary workers to achieve full-time status.
  • There is no immediate estimate on how the package will affect GM's fixed labor costs.

Yes, but: Three of the four plants GM targeted for closing last November will indeed close for good, and there was no agreement to bring work back from Mexico, a major point of contention for the UAW.

  • Workers who have not already moved to other plants will be offered buyouts and early retirement deals.
  • GM is offering early retirement bonuses of up to $60,000 for 2,000 hourly workers and 60 skilled-trades workers who agree to leave.
  • The Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant and two transmission plants in Maryland and Michigan will close.
  • The fourth plant, in Detroit, will be retooled to manufacture a future electric pickup truck.
  • Contract highlights (below) shared with UAW leaders at a meeting Thursday did not mention future investment in U.S. factories, but earlier reports said GM planned to invest $7.7 billion in the U.S., plus another $1.3 billion for a new battery facility in Ohio.

The impact: The plant closures are no doubt a disappointment for President Trump, who campaigned on a promise to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.

Go deeper: Buckle up: GM, Michigan and 2020

Go deeper

Trump accuses Twitter of interfering in 2020 election

President Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

President Trump responded via tweets Tuesday evening to Twitter fact-checking him for the first time on his earlier unsubstantiated posts claiming mail-in ballots in November's election would be fraudulent.

What he's saying: "Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post," the president tweeted. "Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!"

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  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
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  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
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Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets for first time

President Trump briefs reporters in the Rose Garden on May 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter fact-checked two of President Trump's unsubstantiated tweets that mail-in ballots in the 2020 election would be fraudulent for the first time on Tuesday, directing users to "get the facts" through news stories that cover the topic.

Why it matters: Twitter and other social media platforms have faced criticism for not doing enough to combat misinformation, especially when its propagated by the president.