For those on outside, General Motors and the UAW agreeing on a tentative contract appears to be the beginning of the end. However, there are a few more steps, the most important of which, the vote by the rank-and-file that makes it official, is not as simple it seems.
The automaker’s 48,000 UAW-represented workers around the country will begin voting on the contract starting Saturday. Though the senior leadership that negotiated the deal and GM National Council have voted to approve, strongly suggests that this deal is far from being done.
To review, the not-yet-approved four-year contract includes an $11,000 signing bonus, keeping health insurance unchanged, 3% raises in year two and four of the deal and 4% lump-sum payments in years one and three, as well as $9 billion in guaranteed investments, including products to the Detroit-Hamtramck plant that was unallocated.
GM also got a few things it wanted, including the ability to shutdown plants in Lordstown, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; and Warren, Michigan. It’s this and the ongoing use of temporary workers that seems to have sown the seeds of discontent among many of the workers.
Informational meetings and voting will begin Saturday and on Oct. 25. In the meantime, the details, feelings and predicted votes about the contract are flying around social media like a swarm of angry hornets.
“Hate the two 3% raises, should have been 4% at the very least on all four years, those two lump sums of 4% will get taxed all to hell,” wrote one union member on Facebook page. “I hate that the media gets all of our news before we even get it. I hate that the public gets to see and know everything that we are voting on and then if we vote no we look like greedy union bastards. Well I’m down with the “NO” VOTE CREW!”
Others were displeased with the progression of tiered employees to legacy status. The deal appears to push off some of them for another four years while others will gain status – and to ascension to top wage rates – more quickly.
“Nobody should be celebrating about this and it should be voted down in my opinion just based off the temp issue alone,” wrote another.
Some of the issue surrounding the negative attitude toward the new deal stems from a lack of formal information. Many were confused about some of the language in the contract that they got piecemeal, while others still see the senior leadership as patsies to the automakers, specifically GM in this case.
“The truth is, the IUAW was bought and paid for in the 2011 and 2015 national agreement,” wrote another poster. While there are some calls for the deal to be approved, they are largely overrun by calls for a “no” vote and a returned to the bargaining table, where at least one employee believes GM could be broken.
“It wouldnt last that long stop fear mongering…GM would be at that table giving stuff within the week because by the time they get back to the table thats over 6 weeks in to the strike. Plus it would be another full week of ratification making the strike a guaranteed almost 2 month ordeal.
“Vote NO and get the contract everyone deserves!”