General Motors (GM) workers approved a new contract with the company on October 25, bringing a 40-day autoworker strike to an end.
When employees have a dispute with their employer, they may go on strike. They protest by refusing to work. The strike at General Motors was organized by United Automobile Workers (UAW), a union that protects workers’ rights. Every four years, UAW meets with GM to sign a new contract, but this time the two sides could not reach an agreement.
On September 15, some 49,000 workers walked off the job. More than 50 auto factories and warehouses across the U.S. stopped work. GM and UAW spent weeks bargaining. In the end, GM agreed to increase wages and pay newer employees an amount that’s closer to what longtime employees earn. “It’s not right when you’re working next to someone doing the same job and they’re making a lot more money,” says Paul Kane, who has worked at GM for 42 years. All workers will also get an $11,000 bonus. But GM will still close three U.S. factories.
GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, says the contract “recognizes employees for the important contributions they make.”