General Motors and the UAW have ratified a four-year labor deal, the two announced Friday, cementing not only a labor contract but also a $7.7-billion investment in the U.S. The investment includes a new electric pickup truck to be built at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly and the sale of the Lordstown facility in Ohio. The deal ends a month-long, nationwide strike by GM's UAW employees.
The Hamtramck plan came somewhat late in the game, and while many speculated that GM was planning to utilize the facility for a new electric pickup regardless of the course of negotiations, it may have been a critical element in bringing the two parties closer to their ultimate deal. It may also have significant implications for the future of GM's brand strategy, possibly even including the revival of Hummer.
It's a bit of reach at the moment, but reports have indicated that the company's new BT1 electric program may spawn new vehicles for Cadillac, GMC and the SUV-only Hummer brand that has been dormant for the better part of a decade. The first project to come out of the BT1 program could potentially be a Hummer model, though slotting it into an existing brand has apparently not been ruled out.
The UAW strike also delayed production of Chevrolet's 2020 mid-engine Corvette, of which only a few examples were built before the strike began. While it's not clear how much of a disruption the month-long strike ultimately caused to the C8 Corvette's production schedule, it's likely that some early customer orders will be delayed. Chevrolet still has to build some C7 Corvettes, then switch over to the C8 production line. The process could take a month, but the 2020 models could be available for sale by the end of the year.
Outside of the scope of GM's spending pledge lies the fate of the Lordstown facility in Ohio. GM's ratification announcement said that the plant will be sold to Lordstown Motors Corp., which is likely an entity established by Workhorse—the company which had offered to buy GM's facility to repurpose it for the assembly of commercial electric trucks.
We expect to hear more about GM's future plans for Hamtramck and the ultimate fate of Lordstown in the coming months as the U.S. auto show season ramps up, beginning with the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
As for the labor agreement, the UAW employees at GM's 55 North American sites will get either a 3 percent raise or a 4 percent lump-sum payout each year of the four-year deal, an $11,000 contract signing bonus for regular employees or a $4,500 bonus for temporary employees, a road to regular status for temporary employees after three years of service, retention of current health care coverage costs, and enhanced employee profit sharing.