ROCHESTER, N.Y – (WROC) – The longest strike in decades may soon be ending . A tentative agreement has been reached between General Motors and the United Auto Workers.
More than 48,000 workers walked off the job four weeks ago. The tentative deal doesn’t mean the strike has ended. What it does mean that members of the United Auto Workers union, including the 870 here in Rochester, appear closer to returning to work.
“Our efforts mean something that they paid off,” said Dan Maloney, president of the UAW Local 1097. “That we brought the corporation to the table with a tenative agreement.”
Workers walked off the factory floors and on to the picket lines last month. Their contracts had expired.
“GM has really hasn’t been good to us,” said Troy Titus, a union member. “And I feel GM made a lot of money from us and we should have been paid much more than what we are getting.”
Thousands of workers nationwide were asking for higher pay, job security, a bigger share of the profits, and better health care benefits.
“I feel that UAW let GM get away with a lot of stuff for too long and this is earned,” said Titus. It’s due to us “
For weeks union negotiators and GM officials couldn’t reach an agreement. Also union members were determined to hold out until their demands were met. For some it hasn’t been easy.
” It has been tough,” said Craig Jablonski, another union member. “It has been really trying on my wife and myself. You know with everything that happens you loose a paycheck. All of a sudden you have to dwindle things back and scrimp and save. “
After a month of nonstop negotiations the two sides have finally reached a tentative agreement.
” I was kind of happy,” said Bettina Knight, a union member. “We have been out a long time and I am ready to go back to work “
No details have been released about the deal. Some workers are just hoping for the best.
” A contract that we all can sign and be happy with,” said Jablonski. “Mostly like I said mostly job security and jobs. That’s on a lot of people’s minds right now.”
Maloney says he is heading to Detroit this evening. In the city a council of union members will meet tomorrow morning to vote on the agreement. If it’s approved union members nationwide will vote on the deal.
If all goes well union members could be back on the factory floors before next month.
In a statement last month officials from GM said, “Our goals remains to reach an agreement that builds a strong future for our employees and our business.