Some UAW General Motors workers are feeling as though the 40-day strike against the automaker may not have been worth it in the end, as it did not yield the kind of results they were hoping for.
Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, hourly GM workers Mike Yakim and Sean Crawford said they were hoping the long-lasting strike would result in the Lordstown Assembly Plant being re-opened and GM making more concrete commitments with regard to UAW job security. While the automaker committed to keeping Detroit-Hamtramck open with a plan to allocate production of a new series of electric vehicles to the plant, Lordstown will remain closed. The Warren Transmission and Baltimore Transmission plants will also still be shut down under the contract.
“I lost six weeks of pay and it didn’t accomplish its goal, product allocation being a goal,” Yakim, who works at GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant, told the Free Press. “The allocation of products was tremendously important and we didn’t get it,” he added. “That was the ‘no’ vote right there. We don’t have any guarantees.”
“I don’t think we got what we needed to get,” Crawford, who works at Flint Assembly, also told the newspaper. “The details were scant to say the least at General Motors and the lack of equality in pay and lack of job security were the two biggest reasons I voted ‘no’ on the contract.”
Both Yakim and Crawford believe that many UAW workers voted to ratify the proposal as the strike was going on too long and they did not have the money to continue striking.
The worker’s union narrowly voted to pass the contract proposal. An estimated 38,000 UAW members participated in the vote (GM employs just under 50,000 unionized workers in the U.S.) and 57% voted in favor of the contract. In addition to product for Detroit-Hamtramck, workers will also receive a three-percent wage increase or four-percent lump-sum payment in each of the four years of the contract, the same healthcare coverage, an $11,000 contract signing bonus ($4,500 for temporary workers), better profit sharing bonuses and a path to permanent employment for temporary workers after three years of working for GM.
UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg told the Detroit Free Press that the deal achieved the union’s goals, saying “there will be substantial investments based on commitments outlined in the GM contract over the next four years.”
GM UAW workers may have changed their tone on the strike after seeing Ford reach a deal with the union after just three days of negotiating. While the Ford and UAW agreements are similar, the GM deal was used as an outline for the Ford deal, so employees of the Dearborn-based company did not have to walk off the job to have their demands met.
However, GM has still committed to invest $7.7 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations as part of the contract proposal, which will go toward re-tooling Detroit-Hamtramck to produce EVs and supporting “new vehicle programs and existing facility improvements across its U.S. plants.”
Source: Detroit Free Press