Historic Deal in Sight for GM and UAW

Agreement reached on shifting health costs to union-run trust
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2007 7:32 AM CDT
Finished SUVs are loaded onto a carrier by workers at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Sept. 17, 2007. As General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers returned to the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – After bogging down for several days, talks between General Motors and the UAW got back on track yesterday as automaker and union reps closed in on a historic agreement to shift health-care costs to a union-controlled trust, the Wall Street Journal reports. The two sides are said to have a greed on how much money GM will put into the trust, and on "triggers" to protect both the UAW and GM in case of spiraling health care costs or a downturn in sales.

The deal is the key to the Detroit automakers' bid to reduce the $25-to-$30-an-hour labor-cost gap with their Asian competitors. Talks have moved on to standard collective-bargaining issues such as wages, with a final deal expected within two days. The UAW is expected to negotiate similar health-care trusts at Ford and Chrysler.