One of the reasons the UAW decided to strike against General Motors was due to union employees’ concerns about job security. After the automaker announced the closure of Lordstown Assembly, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly and two of its U.S. transmission plants late last year, workers on GM production lines became understandably worried over their long-term prospects with the company. This was also one of the reasons why the 40-day strike lasted as long as it did, with the UAW looking for GM to commit to new American manufacturing operations in order to give its members a semblance of certainty.
However, the company believes that job security is a non-negotiable issue. Speaking at the recent Barclays Global Automotive Conference, Barra said that job security is something that employees must work toward and can’t be discussed at the bargaining table. Furthermore, Barra said that it will be making sure UAW employees know this going forward to prevent another lengthy strike when the new national agreement expires.
“There’s a lot of conversation about job security. Job security is not something you negotiate,” she said. “Job security is something that you earn. And making sure they all understand that and their role is something we’ll double down on as we go forward.”
Some UAW employees were left feeling underwhelmed by the new national agreement, which won’t see the automaker re-open Lordstown Assembly and won’t save either the Warren or Baltimore transmission facilities. However, the automaker agreed to keep Detroit-Hamtramck open under the agreement, with the automaker planning to allocate production of large electric vehicles to the plant, including its forthcoming electric pickup truck. When the plant is up and running at full capacity in 2024, it will be building around 80,000 electric vehicles per year. GM is expecting to employ 2,225 workers at the plant as well.
You can hear Barra’s comments on the matter in the WXYZ Detroit video embedded below.