The 40-day strike against GM ended Friday when 57% of UAW members voting ratified a new four-year contract. Some workers could be back on the job as soon as Saturday, CNBC reports. The work stoppage cost GM more than $2 billion. Mary Barra, the automarker's chairman and CEO, issued a statement saying that the deal recognizes employees for "the important contributions they make to the overall success of the company, with a strong wage and benefit package and additional investment and job growth in our U.S. operations." The strike began Sept. 16 when 49,000 workers walked off the job, per the AP. A union official praised members whose "sacrifice and courageous stand addressed the two-tier wages structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working-class Americans," per the Free Press.
The union will focus next on Ford, using the GM deal as a starting point, followed by Fiat Chrysler. Those automakers had extended their contracts until the UAW-GM negotiations ended. A union official said negotiations with both companies will be challenging. Ford wanted health care costs cut, he said, but the GM deal leaves benefits intact. (The UAW said the GM deal includes "major gains" for workers.)