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UAW Vote on Revised GM Contract Proceeding

Asian imports are not directly addressed in the agreement.

by on May.28, 2009

UAW Vice President Cal Rapson, photo: Rebecca Cook

Union protests appear to have stymied, for the moment anyway, GM's plans to import large numbers of cars from abroad.

Members of the United Auto Workers Union are expected to vote to accept more concessions as part of revised contract with General Motors Corporation, including a ban on strikes until 2015. GM needs the concessions to survive and the union has no choice but to give them, observed one local union leader. “Ron Gettelfinger and Cal Rapson did about as well as they could do,” he added.

UAW local union leadership representing UAW members at General Motors facilities across the country voted unanimously on  Tuesday to recommend for ratification a new settlement agreement that modifies the 2007 UAW-GM National Agreement as well as changes to the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association trust for retiree health care.

As usual, the UAW is not releasing details of the agreement until after the vote is completed later this week. The agreement reduces the number of skilled trade classifications – long a point of contention inside GM plants – to just three for electrical, mechanical and tool and die trades. The sweeping consolidation of skilled trade classifications had long been sought, unsuccessfully, by GM’s management.

While not part of the latest contract, union protests appear to have stymied, for the moment anyway, GM’s plans to import large numbers of cars from abroad. The new GM plan outlined for UAW officials this week also increases the chance that of the four additional assembly plants GM was planning to close, at least three will now be retooled for new products previously slated for GM factories in other countries. The shift came on the heels of intense lobbying blitz by the union that put pressure on GM, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Obama Administration.

GM assembly plants in Orion Township and in Pontiac, Michigan have been on a speculative list of plants targeted for closing, along with GM plants in Wilmington, Delaware, Spring Hill, Tennessee and Shreveport, Louisiana. In fact, union officials in Tennessee last week had publicly pronounced the former Saturn plant Spring Hill plant as good as closed.    (more…)