Workers at the Chinese-owned Nexteer plant in Saginaw, Michigan, who staged a brief strike that threatened production at both General Motors and FCA U.S., will vote Thursday and Friday on a new tentative contract.
Union officials will hold meetings through the week to explain the changes in the new agreement, fashioned after the overwhelming rejection last week of the first tentative deal by the 3,200 workers at the Saginaw plant.
The contract rejection set the stage for a one-day strike that forced both GM and FCA to curtail production of some truck and sport-utility vehicles that use steering-gear components manufactured by Nexteer.
With the pressure on Nexteer from GM and FCA mounting, the union agreed to suspend the strike after the two sides reached agreement on a second tentative contract proposal.
(Nexteer employees end strike, head back to work. For more, Click Here.)
The new tentative agreement eliminates the cost sharing on health-care benefits that members of the United Auto Workers Local 699 found objectionable in the initial agreement. Workers belonging to an HMO or PPO will pay nothing extra, according to the contract summary posted on line by the UAW.
The new tentative agreement also includes pay increases for all workers. Wages of workers on the first step will be boosted from $12 to $14 per hour, while wages workers on the second step for production workers will go from $14.50 per hour to $15.50 and legacy workers, whose started working at the plant before 2007 will get a $1 per hour pay increase to $17.76. The signing bonus also was increased by $500 to $2,000, the summary noted.
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Workers are also guaranteed modest annual pay increases over the five-year-term of the agreement and new hires will be considered full-time employees after 90 days and the starting pay would be raised from by $1 per hour to $13 per hour.
The union is clearly hoping the pay increases will satisfy employees despite the overwhelming “no” vote that followed the first tentative agreement. The contract also includes a series of changes that will put additional curbs on the power of supervisors on the plant floor in Nexteer’s Saginaw manufacturing complex by tightening the lines of demarcation between the various skilled trades and putting new limits on the use of flex time.
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Representatives of Nexteer, which was purchased by Chinese investors from Delphi Automotive, said they have been trying to balance off the company’s competitive position with a satisfactory economic package for employees.