If the UAW votes to ratify the contract proposal put forth by General Motors, the union would be forced to forfeit the lawsuit it filed against the automaker earlier this year.
The UAW filed suit against GM in February, claiming it breached the terms of its 2015 contract when it announced it would close down Lordstown Assembly, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, and its Warren and Baltimore Transmission plants. The contract stated that the company could not “not close, idle, nor partially or wholly sell, spin-off, split-off, consolidate or otherwise dispose of in any form,” any plant that would employ unionized workers in the four-year deal.
However, the contract also stated that “conditions may arise that are beyond the control of the company,” that may lead to the closure of a union facility. GM indicated that it was closing the plants in order to adjust for an impending economic downturn, though it was also hiring employees in the software sector at the same time, saying the change was necessary to adjust for the emergence of autonomous vehicles and EVs. As such, it argued the plant closures were not a breach of contract.
“We are going to continue to hire, because when we look at the skill sets that we need for the future, the vehicle has become much more software-oriented, when you think about the hundreds of millions of lines of code that are in a vehicle that operates today,” GM CEO Mary Barra was quoted saying at the time. “That’s only going to increase.”
The UAW is currently voting on whether or not ratify GM’s contract proposal, the terms of which were agreed upon by union leaders and GM executives last week. According to CNBC, the contract indicates the lawsuit would be “dismissed with prejudice,” meaning it could not be brought up again once the contract had been agreed upon. UAW and GM declined to comment on the matter when approached by CNBC.
GM had previously filed a motion to arbitrate the UAW lawsuit, which may have resulted in some union workers who were employed at the unallocated plants receiving money for lost wages. However, the UAW denied the arbitration motion.
The results of the UAW ratification vote are expected to be released on Friday. So far, some plants, such as GM’s Spring Hill Assembly, have turned down the proposal. Employees at other facilities, like the Warren Technical Center, have voted in favor of the deal.