WISCREPORT.COM (9/29/07) - The UAW GM National Council – made up of presidents and bargaining chairs from more than 80 GM facilities across the nation – has voted to unanimously recommend ratification of the 2007 tentative agreement with General Motors.
The Council met Friday (9/28/07) for four hours to discuss the details of the proposed agreement with the automaker.
After asking numerous questions of the UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, UAW Vice President Cal Rapson, and the UAW GM National Negotiating Committee, the council came to one conclusion: The proposed agreement forged after a two-day strike by 73,000 UAW members is very much worth supporting.
“We’re very pleased to report that it was unanimously supported and endorsed by our national council members,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said at a news conference at Solidarity House after the meeting.
The proposed contract will be explained further at regional leadership meetings on Saturday and local union meetings and ratification votes will follow beginning Sunday. Ratification votes are expected to conclude by Wednesday, Oct. 10.
The proposed contract came about Sept. 26 at 3:05 a.m. after a marathon bargaining session while thousands of UAW GM members showed their solidarity on the picket line.
Asked whether a unanimous vote from the council was the goal of Friday's meeting, Gettelfinger, flanked by UAW Vice President Cal Rapson and the rest of the UAW GM National Negotiating Committee, said what was most important was explaining the critical details of the contract language so that everyone understood it.
But, he added, the committee was gratified by the unanimous show of support.
“We have to say we all feel pretty good since we did get it,” he said.
Gettelfinger held off on the majority of the details of the contract, preferring to allow UAW presidents and bargaining chairs to explain it to the membership.
But, in response to media questions about the new Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) fund that has been in the news so much, he said he wanted to assure retirees that their health care was secure in the near and long-term future.
“Health care is in a crisis in this country,” Gettelfinger said. “Our retirees will be protected under this VEBA.”