UAW, GM settle strike with new health care deal

Considering what a long strike everyone was saying this was going to be, it sure was over fast!

Reuters via Yahoo! Canada Finance
DETROIT (Reuters) – The United Auto Workers union on Wednesday agreed a contract with General Motors Corp ending a national strike by 73,000 workers, with a deal that includes a groundbreaking health-care trust fund. Union President Ron Gettelfinger, speaking at a news conference at the union’s Detroit headquarters and surrounded by cheering UAW officials, said production at GM facilities would resume on Wednesday and ratification of the agreement by GM workers would begin this week. ‘We feel very confident it will be ratified,’ Gettelfinger said of the tentative four-year agreement.

GM said the national agreement “paves the way for GM to significantly improve its manufacturing competitiveness” and maintain a strong production presence in the United States.

A GM spokeswoman said the automaker would not provide details of the agreement until it was presented to UAW workers for ratification.

Gettelfinger said he would not disclose details of the agreement at this time. But he did say it includes a landmark health-care deal, under which responsibility for retiree health care would shift to a new UAW-aligned trust fund known as a voluntary employee beneficiary association, or VEBA.

Wall Street analysts have said establishing a VEBA could cut GM’s annual costs by $3 billion in exchange for a one-off payment expected to top $30 billion.

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