The labor negotiations between General Motors and the United Auto Workers union are set to get even testier. A new report from Bloomberg on Tuesday pegged two of GM’s big points going into negotiations: more temporary workers and lower healthcare costs.
The first point is likely to be a non-starter for the UAW. In recent years, the union has balked at more temp workers, which have zero ability to climb the ranks and become full-time GM employees. Naturally, it irks the union. They’re also paid less and receive fewer benefits.
However, according to sources close to GM and its negotiating team that spoke with Bloomberg, the automaker will argue that more temp workers are a good thing. By paying them less and putting them on a different benefits plan, GM will argue it can provide greater job security and benefits for UAW members. In wages and benefits, GM-UAW workers make $63 an hour, while rival automakers employing non-union workers make around $50 an hour in wages and benefits. At other automaker factories, the staff is 20 percent temp, while GM plants often employ 7 percent temp workers.
GM’s reported bill for healthcare is $900 million in annual contributions—a figure the automaker desperately wants to trim.
A compromise could come in a deal similar to one for the Orion, Michigan assembly plant. There, GM can hire workers through a new subsidiary called GM Subsystems LLC. This staff is paid less for handling parts and materials before it goes off to the assembly line. Three other GM plants have adopted a similar agreement.
Yet, GM’s arguments only add to what will more than likely be a contentious discussion with the UAW. The union is already seething over GM’s plans to idle four U.S. plants. GM will need to successfully negotiate their official closure with the UAW, but the union has already said it will argue for new vehicles allocated to Lordstown and Detroit-Hamtramck. Its target? Vehicles made in Mexico currently, like the Chevrolet Blazer.