Autoworkers ratified a contract. Here’s what’s next for the GM Arlington plant

dfwnewsa | November 29, 2023 | 0 | Dallas News , Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Autoworkers ratified a contract. Here’s what’s next for the GM Arlington plant
Pilot assembly of the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe at GM’s Arlington Assembly plant. Arlington plant workers voted to ratify the national contract on Nov. 15 (Courtesy photo | General Motors)

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Auto workers at General Motors, Stellantis and Ford voted to ratify a tentative agreement after months of striking across the country. Local UAW unions are now preparing for contract negotiations affecting individual plants. 

GM reached a tentative contract Oct. 30, ending a strike that gradually expanded to thousands of workers across the country, including in Arlington and outside Fort Worth. The new agreement includes a 25% increase in base wages through April 2029 and an estimated cost of living adjustment up to more than $42 an hour, according to the union

Overall, 54.7% of workers across the country voted to ratify the contract. At the GM assembly plant, which has more than 5,000 workers, about 60% of production workers and 64% of skilled trade voted to approve the contract on Nov. 15.

“We are pleased our team members have ratified the new agreement that rewards our employees, protects the future of the business and allows us to continue to provide good jobs in communities across the U.S.,” GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. 

UAW Local 276 president Keith Crowell said the 25% raise in salaries is one of the biggest wins for the workers in Arlington, along with eliminating a “tier” in the wage system. He said the union didn’t get everything it wanted in the contract, but it ultimately had to work with the company during each agreement. 

“We’re not trying to bankrupt the company,” Crowell said. “We’re trying to secure jobs and fair wages. So, it’s a work in progress.” 

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The next big thing on the union’s agenda is reaching a local agreement. It hasn’t been determined when those negotiations will start, Crowell said. 

While the national agreement focuses mostly on economic terms, such as wages and benefits, local agreements focus on individual plants. Some items in the local agreement include health and safety, workloads and shift start times. Crowell did not say what the union will be focusing on in negotiations.

GM Arlington plant spokesman Tom Read said the company’s goal is to reach an agreement that “benefits our over 5,000 team members at Arlington Assembly, supports our ability to satisfy our customers, and allows us to continue to provide good jobs in the community.”

The Arlington plant, which produces full-size SUVS, is considered one of GM’s most profitable plants. The company reported in March that the plant set a record for the most vehicles produced in a month. GM also announced a $500 million investment in Arlington to help produce the company’s next line of SUVs. The plant opened in 1954 and exports cars to more than 30 countries. 

Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at seth.bodine@fortworthreport.org and follow on Twitter at @sbodine120.

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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