United Auto Workers members on strike picket outside General Motors & # 39; Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant September 18, 2019 in Detroit.
Michael Wayland / CNBC
DETROIT – United Auto Workers union and General Motors close in on a preliminary agreement that could soon end the union's ongoing strike against the automaker.
An agreement is not expected to be reached tonight. Dealers are expected to return to negotiations after a break last night, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
Dealers have been meeting daily since before the work stoppage began on September 1
A letter from UAW Vice President Terry Dittes to members on Wednesday confirmed progress has been made this week, as about 48,000 union workers staked outside the automaker's US plant for the tenth day.
Dittes said in the letter that all pending proposals now lie at "the main table and have been presented to General Motors, and we are awaiting their answers." He said that "back and forth will continue until the negotiations are completed."
Having all the cases at the "main table" and not in subcommittees is typically a sign that a tentative agreement can be imminent as long as the conversations cannot fall apart over important stickers. The sources said, depending on how far the pages are in the questions, like salaries and temps, that can take hours or days.
"We will continue to negotiate this contract until your negotiating committee is satisfied that we have reached an agreement that properly addresses the concerns of members," Dittes said in the letter.
In response to the letter, GM said dealers "continue to meet, and our goal is still to come to an agreement that builds a stronger future for our employees and our business."
GM's use of temps and planting Open that is scheduled for closure has been among the most important sticking points, according to people familiar with the talks.
"The intensification of round-the-clock talks at the desk and at the headquarters should mean they are within striking distance of reaching an agreement," said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research. "But it's still a long way to go when they reach that deal."
After a proposed agreement is reached, the union must take the agreement to the GM-UAW Council, which includes local union leaders, and then to members to approve. That process usually takes two weeks; However, this can be accelerated if the union decides to keep workers on strike during the vote.
Ratification of preliminary agreements has traditionally not been a problem. However, four years ago, workers with Fiat Chrysler rejected the initial agreement approved by UAW executives – which sent dealers back to the table.
Prior to the current negotiations, industry analysts warned that ratifying any deal could be challenging as a federal corruption probe when the UAW's highest reaches.
UAW members with GM have been on strike since September 16 after the two sides failed to reach an agreement by a September 14 deadline. It is the union's first national strike against the carmaker since a two-day work stoppage in 2007 and the longest national strike since the 1970s.