The battle between the United Auto Works union and General Motors is off to a hot start as the workers union is accusing General Motors of labor violations at the company’s Fort Wayne Assembly factory in Indiana where the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is built. According to a lawsuit filed by the UAW in the U.S. District Court in Ohio, GM is employing temporary workers at the Indiana facility instead of transferring laid-off hourly employees to the factory as agreed upon between the two parties, according to Reuters.
“UAW members negotiated a binding agreement and we expect General Motors to follow the contract they agreed to and GM members ratified,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement.
This comes after General Motors announced late last year that it planned to idle five North American production facilities (one in Canada and four in the U.S.) by designating the plants as “unallocated.” This is corporate speak where a company doesn’t shut down a plant. Instead, the company doesn’t plan on producing anything at the affected facilities. The UAW has criticized the term as blatant semantics, though is a word that routinely shows up in labor negotiations.
The UAW says 1,000 laid-off hourly GM employees should have a right to transfer to plants with openings. If General Motors is using temporary workers at its Fort Wayne Assembly plant instead of allowing hourly UAW employees the opportunity to resume working, UAW may have a case against the Detroit automaker. The UAW says nearly 700 of those 1,000 unemployed workers come from GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio, which is one of the five unallocated factories GM is proposing.
In late November, GM announced a major restructuring, proposing to lay off thousands of hourly and salaried employees, cut several models from its lineup, and close five North American facilities. Much of GM’s proposal has to be negotiated with the UAW later this year when contract negotiations begin. The UAW announced early last month that it would fight GM’s proposals with every available avenue.