GM-UAW Reach Tentative Agreement

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

After walking off the job a day and a half ago, Janesville's 28-hundred GM employees are now back at work. Light duty production started at 4:30pm and the Isuzu product line will pick back up again tomorrow morning. Now both UAW retired and current workers say they're relieved to to know a deal is being worked out.

The picket signs and parade of frustrated auto workers has cleared the scene in front of the Janesville General Motors plant. A tentative agreement between the United Auto Workers union and GM sends the company's 73-thousand workers back to the assembly line.

"We're relieved to be off the picket line. I didn't figure it would last a long time. But I didn't figure it would be over in two days," says Tim Silha of 2nd Shift Zone Committee.

UAW members decided to strike nine days after the unions four year contract with GM expired. Workers are fighting for better job security and improved health benefits for retired workers.

"We appreciate that very much but active workers should also realize we also did some fighting a long time ago for the benefits they're currently enjoying," says Chairman of the UAW Retired Workers Chapter 95 Bob Vicars.

While the strike was short-lived, workers say it brought UAW members together and made them the closest they've ever been.

So from here, union leaders from throughout the country will meet with GM reps in Detroit sometime this week. They'll learn the specifics of the contract. And bring that information back to union members so they can vote by the end of next week.

While retired workers are considered members of the union, they do not get to vote on the contract. But several retired workers we spoke with say they feel confident they'll get a good deal.


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