DETROIT — Voting on a tentative contract agreement between General Motors and the United Auto Workers union that ended a six-week strike against the company appears too close to call after the latest tallies at several GM factories were announced Wednesday.
The union hasn’t posted final vote totals yet, but workers at five large factories who finished voting in the past few days have turned down the four year and eight month deal by fairly large margins. However a factory in Arlington, Texas, with about 5,000 workers voted more than 60% to approve the deal in tallies announced Wednesday.
The vote tracker on the UAW’s website shows the deal winning by 686 votes. But those totals do not include votes from GM assembly plants in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Wentzville, Missouri; Lansing Delta Township and Lansing Grand River in Michigan, and a powertrain plant in Toledo, Ohio, which all voted against the agreement, according to local union officials.
In most cases the vote tallies ranged from 55% to around 60% against the contract.
But in Arlington, production workers voted 60.4% in favor and nearly 65% of skilled trades workers approved the deal, making the tally tight.
Spokesmen for both the union and General Motors declined comment while the voting continues.
It wasn’t clear what would happen next, but local union officials don’t expect an immediate walkout if the contract is voted down.
Voting continues at Ford, where the deal is passing with 66.1% voting in favor so far with only a few large factories still counting.
The contract was passing overwhelmingly in early voting at Jeep maker Stellantis. The union’s vote tracker shows that 79.7% voted in favor with many large factories yet to finish.
Local union officials say longtime workers at GM were unhappy that they didn’t get larger pay raises like newer workers, and they wanted a larger pension increase. Newer hires wanted a defined benefit pension plan instead of the 401(K) defined contribution plan that they now receive.
Tony Totty, president of the union local at the Toledo powertrain plant, said the environment is right to seek more from the company. “We need to take advantage of the moment,” he said. “Who knows what the next environment will be for national agreements. The company never has a problem telling us we need to take concessions in bad economic times. Why should we not get the best economic agreement in good economic times?”
Thousands of UAW members joined picket lines in targeted strikes against Detroit automakers over a six-week stretch before tentative deals were reached late last month. Rather than striking at one company, the union targeted individual plants at all three automakers. At its peak last month about 46,000 of the union’s 146,000 workers at the Detroit companies were walking picket lines.
This story has been updated to clarify that the vote is too close to call.