Illinois stands to gain thousands of jobs and more in General Motors-UAW tentative deal

General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative contract agreement, marking a significant step forward after weeks of negotiations. The UAW had previously reached tentative deals with Stellantis and Ford, and these agreements are now awaiting ratification.

The strike had a considerable financial impact on General Motors, costing the automaker over $400 million each week it endured. While these agreements are still pending ratification, President Joe Biden has commended the outcomes, emphasizing their importance for American workers and the economy.

"The commitment by the Big Three to create more full-time, middle-class jobs, and invest tens of billions more dollars in plants and factories – building an automobiles future here in America," Biden said.

As part of the landmark deal with Stellantis, a resurrection in Boone County where the former Jeep Cherokee plant has been given new life. FOX 32 spoke with UAW President Local 1268 Mathew Frantzen.

"It was nice to have a victory for small town America," he said. "Belvidere, Illinois – where everybody thought we were dead in the water!"

Historically speaking, closed car plants never re-open. But Belvidere is bucking that trend.

Not only that, it’s soon to become home to a future light truck assembly plant, a battery manufacturing plant, and a proposed parts depot – and that means the more than one-thousand men and women laid off could be brought back to the plant along with the hundreds who transferred to plants across the country, not to mention the scores of local new hires likely to join the rank and file.

"We should get into a hiring mode, which should be good for the surrounding area," said Frantzen.

The UAW plans to detail Belvidere’s future later this week, including its potential re-opening on what is expected to be a significantly larger physical complex in late 2026 or 2027.

FOX 32 spoke with Congressman Bill Foster of Illinois' 11th Congressional District, who credits the union for understanding that Belvidere was worth fighting for.

"They understood that the Belvidere plant was the bleeding heart of Belvidere, Illinois, and they did not want to see that bleeding heart ripped out the way the company was going to do it," Foster said.

In addition to these developments, a $2 billion battery plant is currently under construction in Manteno, Illinois, through an agreement with a Chinese manufacturer.

Rep. Foster emphasized the economic impact of the UAW agreement.

"They're going to be key in keeping our middle class strong. And this is exactly the way I think about it. And I think this may be a historic turning point in the health of unions in this country," he said.