This Morning in Metals: UAW Members Ratify New General Motors Contract

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GM workers month went on a nationwide strike, the first since 2007 at the Big 3 automaker. Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors

Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) voted Friday to ratify a new labor contract with General Motors, the United States Trade Representative offered a mixed reaction to the latest gathering of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity, and a copper mine in Ecuador plans to make its first shipments in November.

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UAW, GM Reach Deal; Focus Shifts to Ford

After over a month, General Motors and the members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) finally have a new labor deal.

UAW members ratified a new four-year deal on Friday, officially ending the nationwide labor stoppage.

“We delivered a contract that recognizes our employees for the important contributions they make to the overall success of the company, with a strong wage and benefit package and additional investment and job growth in our U.S. operations,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a prepared statement. “GM is proud to provide good-paying jobs to tens of thousands of employees in America and to grow our substantial investment in the U.S. As one team, we can move forward and stay focused on our priorities of safety and building high-quality cars, trucks and crossovers for our customers.”

The UAW hailed the details of the deal.

“General Motors members have spoken,” said Terry Dittes, UAW vice president and director of the UAW-GM Department. “We are all so incredibly proud of UAW-GM members who captured the hearts and minds of a nation. Their sacrifice and courageous stand addressed the two-tier wages structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working class Americans.”

According to UAW, the approved deal includes an “economic package of an $11,000 per member signing bonus, performance bonuses, two 3% annual raises and two 4% lump sum payments and holding the line on health care costs.”

Now, the union will shift its focus to bargaining with Ford.

USTR Mixed on Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity

The Office of the United States Trade Representative, as it has in the past, released a statement showcasing mixed feelings with respect to the efficacy and purpose of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity.

The forum recently gathered for ministerial meetings in Tokyo, after which Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Dennis Shea indicated the forum’s policy efforts are be enough to tackle the problem of excess capacity.

“The United States will continue to work with like-minded partners to seek long-term solutions to the crisis of global excess capacity and the market distortions and global imbalances that it causes,” Shea said. “This includes, but is not limited to, exchanging information on the policies and practices of countries at the root cause of the crisis, whose measures generate and sustain steelmaking capacity misaligned with market forces.  At the same time, we will continue to take necessary action to address the harmful impact of this ongoing crisis on U.S. companies and workers as well as our essential security interests.”

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Ecuador Copper Mine to Begin Exports

A copper mine in Ecuador owned by a Chinese consortium could be set to begin exporting the metal in the near term, Reuters reported.

The El Mirador mine plans to make its first copper shipments by Nov. 14, Reuters reported.

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