By on November 7, 2015

UAW GM

The United Auto Workers union announced late Friday that, while the majority of its 52,000 membership voted “Yes” to the tentative agreement, skilled trades workers voted 59.5 percent against the deal.

“The UAW has not deemed the tentative agreement ratified,” said the union.

It was previously reported the tentative agreement may not be ratified due to skilled trades workers voting down the agreement.

UAW production members voted 58.3-percent in favor of the proposed contract and 55.43-percent of total voting members agreed to the proposal, but the contract can not be ratified until it is passed by skilled trades members.

The UAW laid out the next steps in a statement on Friday.

“The UAW will hold meetings with its UAW-GM Skilled Trades membership at each worksite over the next several days in order to determine what reason(s) they had for rejection of the tentative agreement. Once that inquiry has concluded, the UAW’s International Executive Board shall meet to determine what appropriate steps shall be taken. The results of this process cannot change aspects of the agreement which are common to all members,” the union stated.

Not a single salaried worker voted against the Salaried Master Agreement. It has been ratified separate of the National Agreement that covers production and skilled trades workers.

On October 28, the UAW touted a “clear path to traditional wages for all in-progression employees” at General Motors.

“UAW-GM members will have significant wage increases, signing bonuses and improved health care under the new Tentative Agreement with General Motors that was overwhelmingly approved by the local union leaders on the UAW National GM Council,” the union said then.

The UAW outlined the improvements to the contract on its website:

  • Traditional Employees: All traditional members will receive a 3 percent wage increase for the first year, 4 percent lump sum in the second year, 3 percent wage increase in the third year, and 4 percent lump sum for the last year. Traditional employees will receive an $8,000 signing bonus upon ratification.
  • In-Progression Employees: The bargaining committee secured a clear path for in-progression members to achieve traditional wages. All in-progression employees are moved to traditional health care plan. In-progression employees will receive an $8,000 signing bonus upon ratification.
  • Temporary Employees: The Tentative Agreement includes a lump sum payment of $2,000 for active, temporary employees who have worked at least 90 days prior to the effective date. Temporary employees will receive wage increases and a health care plan.
  • SAP of $60,000: The agreement includes a $60,000 bonus for up to 4,000 eligible production employees who retire between Feb. 1 and May 1, 2016, as determined under the normal and early retirement provisions of the national agreement.
  • Appendix “A” Rights: Appendix “A” rights will include in-progression employees with 2 years of seniority as well as eligible in-progression and traditional employees at GMCH, Davidson Rd. and Westchester
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12 Comments on “Majority of GM Employees Approve Contract, Still Does Not Pass...”


  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Matters not to me. Never again, GM.

    • 0 avatar
      ByTheLake

      So … you would have posted that comment for any article that has “GM” in it, regardless of whether it has absolutely nothing to do with the topic?

      Very insightful, thanks – really adds to the discussion.

      I hope the 2 sides can move past this soon. I like the direction that GM is going and would like to see the momentum continue. The next economic down-turn will likely happen during this contract term, so I hope GM doesn’t give too much.

  • avatar
    Ion

    So are these “skilled trade members” the majority of the union or are they the elite 1%?

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      I was a skilled tradesman before moving to management. Not really the “elite 1%” but the skilled trades bring more to the job in specific skills. Electricians, Control and Instrumentation Techs, Millwright, etc. Usually work in a plant maintenance position. Typically at a higher pay-scale than the non-skilled folks. From what I understand the skilled trades people didn’t get all the bennies that the non-skilled people received in the proposed contract. A sign of the times – where I worked the company started evaluating people who could put stickers on 55-gallon drums along with Control and Instrument techs troubleshooting/repairing screw ups by engineers. And the drum-kickers were getting better evaluations and bigger raises/bonuses. The skilled trades were seen as “overhead” that negatively affected production by needing to maintain equipment that the drum-kickers broke. It appears that pushing product out the door is now more important than keeping the infrastructure maintained and operating correctly.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        bullnuke, pushing the product out the door is the only way that the company can make money. Keeping the infrastructure maintained and operating correctly doesn’t do diddly to make money; in fact it costs money and dings the bottom line.

        • 0 avatar
          Adamatari

          highdesertcat:

          I hope you’re just being snarky. Skilled tradesmen are the difference between millions of dollars a day or millions of dollars of downtime. Having things maintained and working properly is what allows them to run machines (instead of relying on manual labor) and produce reliable cars (as opposed to the cars of the past).

          I toured a potato plant yesterday – they make french fries and other potato products. Those machines are put not only maintained by but also programmed by electricians and instrumentmentation technicians. Unless the engineers are going to learn to run conduit and program PLCs (and weld, and install instrumentation, etc.), and then be willing to do that work in the factory, every factory needs well paid skilled tradesmen.

          It’s funny to me that IT is now such a big thing, the golden road to riches, but if you program a PLC instead of an app you are invisible. Even though nearly every modern factory, certainly every car factory, requires skilled PLC programmers. Often the PLC programmers are electricians.

          Not to mention someone to run the conduit, and someone to maintain the motors, and someone to set up the instrumentation systems, and someone to properly fabricate and weld up machinery to the engineer’s specs… Every one of these positions requires skills that take time to learn and more time to master. These people are absolutely essential for the operation of a factory.

          There would be no “bottom line” without these people.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Not being snarky. I’ve never known Maint/Ops to sell any products.

            My dad was a shipboard Master-electrician with the IBEW in San Pedro Harbor, and he did Maint/Ops when he first got started.

            Never made any money for company he worked for, UNTIL he actually went out on contract jobs, aboard ships. Made tons of money for his employer then.

        • 0 avatar
          Robert.Walter

          Such short sightedness if employed by management to its logical conclusion would result in quantity before quality, high cost of non conformance and rework, declines in customer satisfaction, sales, profits and corporate failure. This was exactly the formula employed by the British and Detroit motor industries in the 60’s and 70’s.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            What I see here is that the Maint/Ops people consider themselves more important that the other members of “The Team.”

            Maint/Ops never built or sold anything. Assembly/Production people are the cash cows of the auto industry. They produce what the company sells.

            In many factories Maint/Ops has been outsourched to contracting firms. That should be advisable in this instance as well.

            As another has already posted, the whole discussion only matters to buyers of UAW-made products. For everyone else buying non UAW-assembled vehicles, it’s just “mehhhh.”

        • 0 avatar
          turf3

          You sound like you have never worked in a manufacturing plant.

          What is your manufacturing experience? I am happy to tell you that mine spans 30 years and includes 7 years in manufacturing engineering directly on the plant floor. Being in a non-union plant, I have done many of the tasks Adamatari describes.

          I believe the skilled trades people in unionized auto plants may well have abused their position over the years; but on the other hand they are critical to maintaining production. If you try to outsource this function, all it really means is that on Friday the company will fire all the experienced hands, and on Monday the outsourcing company will hire them back at a lower pay rate, doing the exact same jobs. Why? Because those people’s experience and knowledge of the individual plant is required or the plant won’t run.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            turf3, I was self-employed in the building, maintenance, repair and restoration of real-estate after my 20 yrs in the USAF. Did very well!

            Outsourcing Maint/Ops to contractors is a common practice these days for manufacturing, the food industry, transportation, the Service industry, and probably a lot of other areas of business I don’t know about.

            Even the VA uses outsourcing to contractors on a wide scale these days, and that’s health care.

            IMO, outsourcing is the way to go here. That’s where manufacturers can have experts as part of the plant’s labor force, except they get paid by a contractor. The military has done this successfully for many decades when it comes to maintenance and operations, and continues to do this to this very day, even in War zones. (i.e. two of them were killed today in Jordan).

            The downside is….. fewer dues-paying members for the UAW.

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