Story first appeared in The New York Times.
DETROIT - The United Auto Workers union won $5,000 signing bonuses for its workers and a promise to reopen an assembly plant in Tennessee as part of its tentative new contract with General Motors, according to people briefed on the negotiations.
In what is being viewed as a landmark deal, the union also preserved health care and pensions and improved profit-sharing for its roughly 48,000 members who work at G.M.
Officials at G.M. and the union declined to discuss specific terms of the deal. But people briefed on the negotiations said that workers would receive a signing bonus of $5,000 in lieu of cost-of-living wage increases. Entry-level workers, who are paid about $14 an hour, are expected to receive an increase of $2 to $3 an hour.
The company has also agreed to reopen its idled assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., the people said.
The U.A.W.’s tentative, four-year agreement with G.M., announced late Friday, also opens the door for the automaker to bring back laid-off workers and move jobs back into the United States.
G.M. is the first of Detroit’s Big Three to reach a deal with the union. Details of the agreement were being withheld until the union can inform members, who will vote on ratification over the next two weeks.
The union’s president, Bob King, said in a statement that union members would get a larger share of the profits from G.M.’s comeback from its federal bailout and bankruptcy in 2009.
G.M.’s lead negotiator, Cathy Clegg, said the agreement allows G.M. to continue adding jobs as it increases market share in the United States.
Industry analysts said the union achieved its goals of balancing economic gains in the agreement with solidifying G.M.’s cost structure for future growth.
Increasing jobs in the United States was a critical goal for U.A.W. leaders under pressure to show that the government’s bailout of G.M. is producing positive economic benefits.
Mr. King took the unusual step of acknowledging the Obama administration’s support of the industry in his statement: “None of this would have been possible without the efforts of President Obama, who invested federal funds to help turn the company around, protect the auto supplier base and keep good-paying jobs in America.”
The union said that it had successfully fought off G.M.’s proposals to weaken pensions and obtain major concessions on health-care benefits.
Mr. King’s next task is to seek broad support among local union leaders and G.M. workers for the tentative deal. U.A.W. leaders from plants across the country are expected to gather in Detroit on Tuesday to hear the details.
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