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Closed-end automotive workers are fighting a new GM contract



DETROIT (AP) – If they can close our factory, they can close yours too.

This is the announcement of workers at three closed-loop General Motors factories who did not receive new products under the preliminary agreement reached last week between GM and United Auto Workers, which have been on strike against the company in the US for more than six weeks.

About 2,000 employees who once worked at GM transmission stations near Baltimore and Detroit and at a small-car assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, will repeat this announcement this week as 49,000 union members vote for the new four-year deal.

The approval could end a transition that crippled GM's production and cost the company about $ 2 billion.

Most of the workers who lost their jobs at the three sites are scattered throughout the country after being transferred to other GM factories, so they have a presence in almost all car factories.

But few hope that they cannot orpedo the deal, which comes with a $ 11,000 signing bonus, pay raises and many other economic benefits to the factories that remain open.

John Sandquist, Jr., who spent 25 years building cars in Lordstown near Cleveland, said he was not optimistic that he would change other people's views but would vote against the pact.

"Your business may be shut down at any time," Sandquist said. "What is missing from the contract is language to prevent it from happening again."

Like many of the 1,400 workers who built the compact Chevrolet Cruze before GM stopped making cars in Lordstown last March, Sandquist took the transfer. It has spun in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where it will make the new mid-engine Chevy Corvette after the strike.

He questioned why union leaders agreed to let GM shut down factories, wondering if corruption inside the UAW affected the decision

"We were the sacrificial lamb in this for the entire UAW," Sandquist said. "And we fucked up."

In August, the FBI raided the suburban home in Detroit of UAW President Gary Jones as part of a corruption investigation. He has not been indicted or commented on the raid. Earlier this month, Jones' heir as regional director of the Missouri union was accused of a $ 600,000 hijacking scheme, and another UAW employee pleaded guilty to taking refusals from union suppliers.

Eight other people – including five UAW employees – have been convicted in the last two years of jointly robbing a Fiat Chrysler-UAW blue-collar worker training center, prosecutors say $ 1.2 million has been diverted .

At a factory leaders meeting in Detroit last week, Dan Morgan barged in. The local Lord's chairman in Lordstown objected to a vote on the contract, saying they should continue to strike while GM kept the plants open.

Union spokesman Brian Rothenberg said negotiators were doing everything they could to get the company to agree to early retirement and buyout offers for workers from closed factories who had not moved to other GM plants.

Kristin Jicek, Vice President of Labor and Production at the Center for A utomotive Research, a specialized industry survey, stated that he did not consider that there were enough closed-loop workers to influence others and vote on the deal.

"It's like germandering," she said. "They are spread throughout the system."

It will also be difficult to reckon with the economic benefits of the contract, which leads to the hiring of workers after 2007 to the same pay as older workers for four or fewer years, allowing temporary getting full-time workers, gives workers one-time payments and raises the $ 12,000 cap on profit-sharing checks.

The large assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, has hitherto voted closely for the contract. But locals in Toledo, Ohio, at GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, and at a metal stamping facility in Saginaw, Michigan, voted overwhelmingly in favor.

Voting ends Friday, with the final amount released tonight, the deal wins by more than 1,000 votes by Tuesday.

In Spring Hill, where there are a large number of people who have transferred from Lordstown, the closure of the plant is among the many reasons workers have voted to contract 51% to 49%, said Mike Heron, chairman of the union contract. the factory.

They were also unhappy with the provisions that make temporary full-time employees after three years of continuous work, and objected to restricting 2000 workers who would receive early retirement packages, Heron said.

The GM Treaty will serve as a model for negotiations with Ford and Fiat Chrysler. The union is likely to choose the next company once the GM contract is ratified.

Under the deal, GM agreed to invest about $ 7.7 billion in its factories, creating or maintaining 9,000 jobs. It also extended the moratorium on outsourcing work, but did not apply to GM joint ventures with other companies.

From $ 7.7 billion, $ 3 billion will go to GM's Detroit Hamtrack plant, which will make several high-end batteries, powered pickup trucks and jeeps. One of them is Hummer.

A total of $ 1.5 billion will go to a factory in Wentzville, Missouri to make pickups. A plant near Lansing, Michigan, will split $ 1 billion with the Spring Hill plant, where the company will become an SUV. And $ 2 billion will go toward upgrading other plants.

Critics complain that the contract does not return any products from Mexico that the union has sought.


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