The United Auto Workers union filed a lawsuit against General Motors over semantics regarding the idling of three U.S. factories, according to The Detroit News. The UAW alleges GM violated the 2015 GM-UAW contract agreement—the Plant Closing and Sale Moratorium portion—by using “unallocated” as the term to describe the factories GM plans to idle. The UAW hopes to keep the three affected plants open until September when the current contract agreement between the two entities expires.
When General Motors announced its restructuring plan last November, the automaker said the plants it planned to close—four in the U.S. and one in Canada—would be “unallocated.” The UAW alleges the use of “unallocated” was a deliberate move by the automaker to avoid “idle” and “close,” words addressed in the current contract between the two sides in 2015. General Motors says its November 26 announcement does not violate the 2015 UAW-GM contract.
The UAW is looking to keep Lordstown Assembly, Warren Transmission, and Baltimore Operations plants open. The UAW did not include the automaker’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant as GM has already extended operations there through January 2020, which is beyond the expiration date outlined in the current agreement. Detroit-Hamtramck will continue to build the Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala.
Days after GM announced its restructuring plan, the UAW announced it’d formally challenge the automaker’s decision. While Unifor has taken a more vocal stance against the automaker, the UAW did call join Unifor in calling a boycott of the Mexican-built Chevrolet Blazer. United Auto Workers President Gary Jones recently wrote a column for the Detroit Free Press calling for more U.S. investment from the automaker.
GM has maintained its position on its restructuring, calling for both the UAW and Unifor to help affected employees transfer to other GM factories. GM says 2,800 will be affected by the closures. However, the company has 2,700 open positions at other factories. Hundreds have already accepted transfers to new facilities.