UAW Beats Back the Future

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DETROIT: If GM is to thrive in the future, the world's largest carmaker needs to remake itself. It must be leaner and more productive, with less workers making fewer models. Company officials knew that -- and certainly the United Auto Workers knew it, too. And when union leadership saw GM trying to make those changes, it decided to fight the future. And the unions won.

"UAW president Stephen Yokich said that there were no winners in the settlement," which has been ratified Wednesday by union members, says TIME reporter Joe Szczesny. "But clearly GM fell far short in its efforts to get a broad mandate to restructure its operation. A draw in the negotiations was a victory for the union." GM will likely put many of its factories on a round-the-clock schedule for the rest of the year to try and recover some of the $2.2 billion in lost profits the strike has cost it. Workers will get plenty of overtime and GM will be churning out cars once again. But after that rush subsides, the world's largest carmaker will face the same problems it had before: declining market share, bloated payrolls and a bitter, distrustful union that will fight changes every step of the way. The company's future certainly looks bleak to investors: As details of the settlement emerged Wednesday morning, GM stock slipped 2 1/8.