UAW says GM outlines EV investment plans, will raise wages for US workers

By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) -The United Auto Workers union said its tentative contract deal with General Motors includes plans for investments around electric vehicles and will raise wages for thousands of U.S. hourly workers at units with lower wage tiers than at vehicle assembly operations.

The UAW released more details of its tentative 4-1/2 year deal with GM

"We won this round," UAW President Shawn Fain said in a video address on Saturday. "This contract will change thousands of lives overnight."

Now that preliminary approvals for all three contracts are done, UAW leaders will spend the next two weeks working to win "yes" votes from rank-and-file union members at the Detroit Three.

The main economic provisions of the agreement follow the pattern set at Ford and Chrysler parent Stellantis, providing 25% base wage increases for full-time workers, which could total as much as 33% including newly negotiated cost-of-living allowances.

Temporary workers will have a faster path to full-time status and could see wages rise by about 50% immediately. Temporary workers who convert to full-time status could more than double their hourly pay over the life of the agreement, the UAW said.

The GM agreement will move more than 7,000 UAW workers in GM component plants, service parts warehouses and what GM calls "subsystems" operations up to the higher wage levels paid to assembly plant workers.

The new contract would largely unwind a strategy the automaker has used for years to hold down labor costs, UAW officials have said.

"This contract has wage increases and economic gains like nothing we've ever seen before," UAW Vice President Mike Booth said. "The gains in this contract are worth more than four times the last contract."

Under the deal, starting base wage for full-time members will increase over the life of the contract by about 70% to $30.60 an hour, and by about 33% to $42.95 an hour for top wage earners, Fain said.

The progression by workers to the top wage will be cut to three years from eight years, he said.

Fain also said workers at GM's Ultium EV battery operations also be covered under the master agreement. Some former GM workers at the company's old Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant also can apply for jobs at Ultium at current wages, and new hires will make at least 75% of the maximum wage rate, he said.

In addition to the pay increases, the UAW said GM has agreed to invest $4 billion at its Orion, Michigan, plant for future EVs, and $2 billion at the plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, for two GM EV models and a future partner EV. The union also said a future electric full-size SUV would be built at Factory Zero in Detroit.

Fain also called on workers across the U.S. to organize.

"Auto workers at Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Tesla, they deserve record contracts too," he said, referring to future planned organizing efforts.

(Reporting by Joe White and Ben Klayman in Detroit and Rishabh Jaiswal in BengaluruEditing by Matthew Lewis)