It’s not every day that over 100 UAW members protest their own headquarters. However, that’s exactly what happened over the weekend. It probably didn’t help that the Detroit Lions also lost over the weekend, which usually ups the frustration levels around the area for a day or two.
In all seriousness though, the issue stems from the two-tier wage deal that was negotiated and approved by the UAW last year. The deal is expected to establish 40 percent of Orion Twp., MI plant workers under the second tier wages, which pay around half of the $28 amount that first tier workers make and is meant for new hires and rehires. Though this structure makes manufacturing cheap small cars in America (such as the all-new Chevy Aveo) much more cost-effective, it’s clear not everyone is thrilled about it.
Protesting UAW members, some as old as 93, were not just from the Orion Twp. plant, as some even came from Ohio and Indiana to let their leaders know that they are not happy with what is happening.
“I am hoping that they feel some type of embarrassment that we have to come out to Solidarity House in order for them to hear our message,” said Nick Waun, who has worked for General Motors for four years. Members are also protesting because the deal, though approved by UAW leaders, was never voted on.
What’s more, General Motors has made it an objective to eventually transition all UAW workers employed at Orion Twp. to the second-tier wage system. The General plans on doing this by offering to transfer its first-tier wage workers at Orion Twp. to other plants such as the Lordstown, OH and Detroit-Hamtramck, MI assembly plants.
We here at GM Authority hope that somebody emerges with a solution that makes everybody happy.