Executives of General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers signed a three-year labor contract Friday guaranteeing the wages of about 300,000 U.S. workers.
UAW President Owen Bieber is now expected to turn up the heat on Chrysler Corp. when bargaining with the No. 3 automaker intensifies next week. But he would talk only of the contract with GM."It's clearly a document I think speaks well for the workers and the company, all of us together, to see to it we have a good, successful operation here in the next three years and beyond," Bieber said.
GM Chairman Robert Stempel said the contract would help the company become more competitive with Japanese automakers operating in the United States.
The GM-UAW agreement was reached Sept. 17, two days after the 1987 contract expired. It was ratified in union voting late last month by a 4-to-1 margin.
The contract includes three years of wage guarantees for workers laid off because of sales dips, no changes in cost-of-living or health-care provisions, and a 3 percent increase in base wages in the first year, along with 3 percent lump-sum payments in each of the next two years.
The agreement raises the base wage for a GM assembler, the most common classification of worker, by 42 cents an hour to $14.44 before cost-of-living adjustments.