DETROIT — Leaders of union locals voted Thursday to approve a tentative contract agreement with General Motors, but said a strike against the automaker would continue until workers voted to ratify the deal.
After a lengthy meeting in Detroit, the group said voting by the 49,000 members of the United Automobile Workers at G.M. plants would begin on Saturday and be completed within a week.
The walkout, now a month old, is the longest against General Motors in half a century.
According to a summary posted online by the union, the four-year deal includes wage increases and a formula for allowing temporary workers to become full-time employees. It would also keep production going at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which G.M. had said it would close.
The tentative agreement does not reverse plans for three plants that have been idled, including one in Lordstown, Ohio, though it provides retirement incentives for workers displaced there.
Brian Rothenberg, the union’s spokesman, said after Thursday’s meeting that the U.A.W.’s negotiating team “did everything they could” to save jobs.
“This was a strike not just by U.A.W. workers,” he said. “It became a strike for American workers and the middle class.” Workers walked off the job, he added, to secure fair wages and “a fair share of the profits.”
In the last three years, G.M. has reported earnings of $35 billion in North America. Analysts estimate the strike cost G.M. $2 billion in operating profit.
In announcing the accord on Wednesday, the U.A.W. said it had “achieved major wins.” But ratification is not a foregone conclusion. In the union’s last negotiations with G.M., in 2015, approval of a tentative agreement was delayed for a month and the terms had to be reworked.
A rejection of the proposed contract would be a rebuke for the U.A.W. president, Gary Jones, and his negotiating team.
“If the rank-and-file vote down an agreement their leaders send them, they also are voting down the leaders,” said Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan who follows the auto industry. “Workers may ask whether it was worth being out of work a month to get a deal that could be close to what they would have gotten with no strike and no loss of pay.”
G.M. issued a statement urging the union “to move as quickly as possible through the ratification process, so we can resume operations.”
If the contract is ratified, each full-fledged U.A.W. worker will receive a signing bonus of $11,000, a 3 percent wage increase in the second and fourth years of the contract, and a 4 percent lump sum in the first and third years. Temporary workers get a signing bonus of $4,500, the same wage increases as full-time workers, and the possibility of becoming permanent employees within three years.
Under the proposed terms, all U.A.W. workers at G.M. have a path to reach the top wage of $32 an hour within four years.
The deal also eliminates a $12,000 cap on annual profit-sharing payouts, which could have a significant upside if G.M. continues to be as profitable as it has been in recent years.
Health care benefits are unchanged, with workers paying about 3 percent of the cost.
There were signs of dissent Thursday from union members outside the Renaissance Center office complex, where G.M. has its headquarters and where the union meeting took place. As the roughly 200 union officials arrived, they were greeted by about 30 workers from the Lordstown plant in red T-shirts shouting, “Vote no!”
“It’s no deal for us,” said one of the protesters, Todd Piroch, a Lordstown worker who has been transferred to a plant in Bowling Green, Ky. He said he was going to vote against the contract, but said he wasn’t sure workers elsewhere would do so. “We’re just angry,” he said.
G.M. has promised to invest $7.7 billion in its manufacturing operations in the United States over the next four years, and a further $1.3 billion in ventures with partners, saying those moves would create or preserve 9,000 jobs. But the deal includes no specific promises to expand domestic production or to move manufacturing to the United States from Mexico, both of which were goals of the union going into the negotiations.
Mr. Rothenberg, the union spokesman, said the U.A.W. would make the details of G.M.’s investment plans public soon. In previous years, the union has presented a breakdown of plant-by-plant investments.
One of the union’s main objectives was getting G.M. to reopen the car factory in Lordstown, a goal that President Trump endorsed. But there is no indication that the matter was ever on the table in the contract talks. G.M. stopped production at that plant, and others in Baltimore and in Warren, Mich., as part of a cost-cutting effort that eliminated 2,800 factory jobs and thousands of white-collar positions.
In a statement on Thursday, General Motors said it was looking into building a battery factory near Lordstown that would employ about 1,000 workers. The plant would be built with a partner and would be unionized, but under a separate contract.
An electric-truck company that hopes to purchase the Lordstown plant from G.M. would employ about 400 production workers, the automaker said.
The company has not indicated that displaced workers from its Lordstown plant would be given preference in hiring at either operation.
G.M. reaffirmed a plan announced in May to invest $700 million in three existing plants in Ohio — in Parma, Toledo and the Dayton area — with an expected net gain of 450 jobs.
“G.M. is committed to future investment and job growth in Ohio,” the company said.
If the G.M. contract is ratified, the U.A.W. will turn its focus to Ford Motor or Fiat Chrysler. Contracts with those manufacturers expired on Sept. 14, but workers continued reporting to assembly lines while the union negotiated with G.M.
Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com