After over six weeks of targeted U.S. labor strikes and contentious talks, General Motors (GM) has followed in the footsteps of Ford Motor Company and Stellantis, reaching a tentative deal with the United Auto Workers (UAW) to put an end to collective bargaining talks.
This development is noteworthy not just for the immediate impact the deal will have on the tens of thousands of workers involved, but also for what it signifies about the changing dynamics between employers and employees in the U.S.
The UAW adopted a more confrontational and strategic approach during these negotiations, initiating talks with all three automakers simultaneously, which was a historic departure from the traditional practice of bargaining with each automaker individually.
CNBC reports that this collective bargaining strategy resulted in patterned agreements, with GM’s deal reportedly matching the improvements seen in the Ford and Stellantis deals — including 25% wage increases, reduced paths to top wages, and other improved benefits.
The workers’ strikes are reported to have cost GM, Ford, and Stellantis billions in lost production. However, the success of the UAW in securing these agreements through collective action and strategic negotiation may inspire other labor unions and workers to adopt similar tactics in pursuit of better working conditions and compensation moving forward into 2024.
The success of these strikes could lead to a more empowered workforce, with employees having greater leverage to negotiate for their rights and benefits. On the other hand, it also raises questions about the long-term sustainability of these agreements, and the potential impact on the competitiveness and viability of companies facing increased labor costs and high interest rates, among other challenges.