– The Associated Press

DETROIT – In exchange for an agreement to create 5,100 union jobs in the United States, General Motors will hire thousands of less expensive employees and replace some longtime workers.

The offer is part of a tentative new contract between the automaker and the United Auto Workers that union leaders recommended to their membership Tuesday. Now, nearly 50,000 workers at GM must vote to accept or reject the four-year deal.

The contract also includes a $5,000 signing bonus and profit-sharing checks if GM earns a minimum of $1.25 billion in North America annually. Those payments, and others, will replace annual raises for most workers.

UAW President Bob King hailed the deal as a sign the union and industry can cooperate to save American jobs. And at least one local union leader predicted workers would accept the contract, the first since GM and Chrysler made it through bankruptcy in 2009 after receiving government bailouts.

“The auto industry is back. General Motors and the UAW are working together to create jobs in America,” King said at a union leader meeting Tuesday in Detroit.

The union will use the contract as a model for separate labor deals with Detroit’s two other automakers: Chrysler Group LLC and Ford Motor Co. Nearly 113,000 autoworkers would be covered by the UAW contracts at the three companies. The contracts would also set the bar for pay and benefits at nonunion auto companies and other industries across the country.

The GM-UAW deal creates more than 5,100 factory jobs and opens up 1,300 jobs for skilled workers such as electricians and welders.

That means the contract preserves or adds 6,400 jobs, the UAW said. The skilled work is now done by outside contractors, but UAW workers will be able to bid on it. The union said much of the work is being brought back from Mexico.

In return, GM will try to entice older employees to leave so it can hire new ones at a wage that’s about half the $29 per hour veterans make.