The tentative labor deal between General Motors (GM) and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is approaching ratification, signaling a significant step in labor relations within the automotive industry. As the votes were tallied on Wednesday, optimism grew following the approval by over 60% of union members at GM’s Arlington, Texas, assembly plant—a pivotal endorsement for the deal’s success.
Earlier in the day, concerns arose when several large assembly plants voted against the agreement. Media reports hinted at potential failure, but the tide shifted with Arlington’s support and robust voting in favor from smaller warehouse and parts facilities. This development places the deal on the verge of majority approval and would signify the first ratified agreement, extending through April 2028, with one of the Detroit Three automakers.
Ford and Stellantis are still in the midst of voting, with indications suggesting comfortable margins favoring ratification at both companies. The UAW’s GM vote tracking site presently shows a 54% to 46% approval margin, with nearly 32,000 out of approximately 46,000 UAW-represented GM workers having cast their votes.
While the voting officially concludes on Thursday at 4 p.m. EST, most votes were expected to be cast on Wednesday. The UAW initiated a strike lasting over six weeks against the Detroit Three, advocating for improved wages, working conditions, and cost-of-living adjustments. Tentative agreements were reached with all three companies about two weeks ago.
However, not all GM assembly plants supported the deal, as evidenced by rejections from facilities such as Fort Wayne, Indiana; Wentzville, Missouri; GM’s Lansing Grand River and Lansing Delta Township plants. Seven out of GM’s 11 assembly plants opposed the agreement. On the positive side, approval was secured at plants in Arlington, Detroit, Fairfax, Kansas; and Lake Orion, Michigan.
Nine facilities, including GM’s Lockport, New York, components plant, are yet to report vote totals. Those in favor of the agreement hold a substantial lead, particularly in facilities where workers anticipate significant pay increases upon ratification.
The new UAW-GM agreement includes a 25% increase in the base wage through April 2028, resulting in a cumulative 33% rise in the top wage when combined with estimated cost-of-living adjustments, reaching over $42 an hour.
As for Ford and Stellantis, preliminary figures from the UAW indicate strong support for the deal among workers, with 66% of Ford voters and 72% of Stellantis voters favoring ratification. Ford’s voting is scheduled to conclude on Friday, while Stellantis is set to finish next Tuesday.
The automotive industry, which previously grappled with cost-cutting measures amid the transition to electric vehicles, faced challenges exemplified by lower margins on EVs compared to market leader Tesla. GM, in particular, experienced setbacks, including the withdrawal of its full-year profit forecast and the postponement of a $4 billion electric truck plant in Michigan, attributing these actions to the strike’s impact.