- The Washington Times - Friday, May 29, 2009

UPDATED:

DETROIT (AP) — Members of the United Auto Workers union have ratified a package of concessions designed to reduce General Motors Corp.’s labor costs.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said Friday that 74 percent of GM’s 54,000 U.S. production and skilled-trade workers voted in favor of the deal.

The vote comes before an expected Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing by GM on Monday. Bankruptcy experts say having the labor agreement in place will help move the process through court more quickly.

The contract freezes wages, ends bonuses, eliminates noncompetitive work rules and ends the possibility of a strike until the next contract expires in 2015.

It also gives a union-run retiree health care trust 17.5 percent ownership of a post-bankruptcy protection GM, with a warrant to buy another 2.5 percent.

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