Tentative Agreement Reached in GM Strike

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DAYTON, OHIO: Officials for the United Auto Workers announced that an agreement has been reached between the union and General Motors. The 2,700 workers at two brake plants here will vote Friday morning on whether to ratify the agreement, which has the endorsement of union negotiators. The two sides have met daily since last Friday in an effort to end the strike that idled more than 160,000 GM workers. The main issue in dispute was outsourcing -- the production of parts by outside companies. Financial analysts say that GM must outsource more or face a long- term competitive disadvantage. While the two sides did not officially release the terms of the agreement, TIME's Joseph R. Szczesny says the agreement apparently preserves GM's ability to outsource some work. In exchange, the union received concessions on safety and health issues, as well as a promise to hire more workers for the two plants. Employees there had been working six- and seven-day weeks to meet production needs. Wages were not an issue. Szczesny reports that the negotiated settlement follows a precedent set by several previous strikes, and will not necessarily set the terms for industry- wide labor negotiations this fall. "Mostly, it added to the tension between GM and the union," he adds. Dayton employees could return to work as early as the second shift tomorrow, and assembly plants could re-open beginning on Monday. The strike shut down all but three of GM's North American assembly plants, as well as 18 parts plants in the United States, Mexico and Canada.