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Autoworkers hesitate on new contracts despite 'record' pay increases

Michael Swensen

Workers at Ford, Stellantis and General Motors are weighing in on the new contracts proposed by their union and the Big Three — and more than a few of them seem unsatisfied with what they're being offered.

According to a document submitted to the NBC affiliate WSMV-TV in Nashville, workers at GM's Spring Hill Manufacturing plant rejected the contract this week. The document showed that about 72% of production workers and 56% of skilled trade workers opposed the deal.

A majority of employees at UAW Local 602 in Lansing, Michigan, also reportedly voted against the contract this week.

Those are some of the latest GM employees who have said no to the contract after the six-week strike.

The UAW's "ratification trackers," which are updated hourly, show that almost 16,000 GM employees have voted on the contract so far, and they're backing the deal by a narrow margin of 52% to 48%.

The proposed contracts were negotiated after members of the UAW went on strike on Sept. 15. If majorities at each automaker approve, the pacts will last through April 30, 2028. Union members will get an 11% initial wage increase and a total pay increase of 25% over the course of the 4½ year deal. The new contracts also reinstate cost-of-living adjustments, let workers reach top wages in three years instead of eight, and protect their right to strike over plant closures.

Both the United Auto Workers and the carmakers described the deals as "record" contracts based on those pay increases. The union also said that members were regaining some of the benefits they agreed to give up after the Great Recession to help keep the automakers alive.

Compared to GM, Ford employees seem a bit more enthusiastic. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 25,000 votes among Ford employees had been counted and the UAW said 65.9% supported ratification.

Ford was the first of the Big Three to reach an agreement with the UAW, and its members are scheduled to finish voting on the proposed contact on Friday.

The first group of Ford employees to weigh in was Local 900 at the Michigan assembly plant, which was the first Ford plant to go on strike. The UAW said 82% of those members voted to ratify the contract, with more than 3,000 'yes' votes.

Fewer Stellantis employees have voted so far, but the UAW tracker shows that more than 80% of the 6,000 voters approved.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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