By on November 14, 2015

Chevrolet Volt Production. Photo courtesy General Motors.

On Thursday, United Auto Workers Vice President Cindy Estrada told local union officials that she would recommend to union President Dennis Williams that the labor group ratify its contract with General Motors despite its rejection by skilled trades workers, according to Automotive News.

On Friday, Williams announced on the UAW’s website that the union would go back to GM to discuss those workers’ issues with the proposed contract that was approved more than one week ago. On Friday afternoon, Estrada announced in a separate letter that she would support further negotiation with the automaker over skilled trades workers’ concerns.

Um, what’s going on?

Workers at GM plants voiced their concerns on the union’s Facebook page after Estrada’s announcement.

This is absolutely absurd. Ford will have a contract ratified before we will and ours started a week before. Why in the world is there an extension made? So because of Skilled Trades, I have to wait ANOTHER WEEK for something that passed. Great job, UAW.

According to the union, nearly 56 percent of union workers agreed to a proposed contract with the automaker that would grant pay raises, profit sharing and other financial bonuses for workers. However, a majority of skilled trades workers rejected that deal, based in part, because of broader job definitions that could result in multiple duties. Skilled trades workers reportedly also took exception from being excluded from a $60,000 buyout for workers near retirement.

According to the Detroit News, workers are worried about job safety if skilled trades workers are spread too thin.

“One of the biggest aspects is safety …” John Ilgenfritz, a skilled trades worker at GM’s Wentzville Assembly Plant in Missouri told the Detroit News. “Someone is going to get hurt and it’s going to be because of this.”

Union officials extended its 2011 contract with the automaker to work through its proposed contract.

Even if skilled trades workers reject the contract, union officials may cement the deal with GM. That happened in 2011 when Chrysler skilled trades workers rejected their deal that was ultimately approved by the union.

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17 Comments on “What’s Going On With The UAW Deal With GM?...”


  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It appears this is a great opportunity for the workers to sit down with management (as opposed to the UAW( and devise better ways to do their job.

    If the US auto workers want to keep their jobs they must become more productive.

    I do support the initiative of more productivity. This will allow GM to reduce the size of it’s work force.

    There must be other sweetners in amongst this deal that isn’t being discussed as well between the UAW and GM.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ” this is a great opportunity for the workers to sit down with management (as opposed to the UAW( and devise better ways to do their job.”

      That’ll never happen. It hasn’t happened since the beginning of UAW time, is not going to happen now, and will not happen in the future.

      Imagine the UAW leaders relinquishing collective bargaining power.

      You optimist.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        highdesertcat,
        Where I’m currently working there will be manpower cuts of around 30%. We have been looking at ways to maximise or should I state minimise how we work without impacting, safety, airworthiness, etc.

        A group of us have been working in teams as project managers. The best information is coming from the coal face.

        You will find resistance to any change, this pushback I’ve encountered has been primarily pushback, with the logic of we have always done things this way.

        These are the people who need to be put out to pasture. Surprisingly some fantastic ideas have come out. Some of the ideas for change are so blatantly obvious that I wonder why this hadn’t occurred in the past.

        GM as in any other large institution will also have those who are like dogs, pi$$ing on their empires, attempting to build the biggest empire.

        Much of the attitude to change is politcial. Once the deadwood and Luddites are removed, people will realise that change isn’t political, but necessary for survival.

        Things just can’t stay the same. I read many on TTAC and other sites who are scared of change. They use terms like “where will the jobs come from if I’m made redundant?”

        Their jobs will come the same as the candle stick makers, farriers, blacksmiths, etc. These were once middle class jobs. But the world has moved on.

        I say let the jobs go. This will make for a more innovative and progressive society. That’s what made America, Australia, Canada, etc what they are today.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I understand your point of view. If you’re talking “airworthiness” you’re talking a different realm and universe.

          In the US, the UAW cannot be compared to the TWU, certainly the most prestigious labor union of the air transportation workers anywhere on the planet. I know several TWU members, formerly of the US Air Force when I was still a member.

          Hell, if the TWU provided product of the same quality that the UAW has, airplanes would fall out of the sky on regular basis, like UAW-made vehicles coming apart over the decades.

          With the UAW it’s all about the UAW, and the number of dues paying members.

          The UAW doesn’t care about the welfare or betterment of their employers. To wit: the late GM and Chrysler, driven to financial ruin by outlandish wage and benefits extortion.

          But long story short, this whole UAW thing only matters to people who buy UAW-made vehicles. And those buyers deserve everything they get, even if it kills them.

          IOW, there’s no way the UAW will sit down with any of their employers like the unions do in Germany, for instance, and work out a plan to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the operations.

          Crack pipe hallucination.

          • 0 avatar
            Robert.Walter

            …even if it kills them… Nice.

            Why so bitter?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Naw, not bitter.

            Drove GM and Ford products exclusively from 1962 – 2008. Was an Olds fanboi. Owned two brand new ones – Custom Cruiser 455 and Toronado 455. Plus a Silverado 350.

            Found better.

            With GM you always have to worry what recalls await in the future. As in the recent ignition switch fiasco, the burden is on the GM buyer to prove that it was GM’s ignition switch that killed the occupants of the wrecked vehicle.

            I don’t need that. Now I want dependability, reliability and durability. I found mine.

            I responded to the initial post only because it is just too far fetched to have the UAW work with an employer instead of against them.

            Has never happened in the past, ain’t happening now, won’t happen in the future.

          • 0 avatar
            blockmachining

            I’ve owned 13 different Nissans over the past 26 years. One total recall to check one seatbelt bolt for proper torque. I’ve owned my 2014 Ram 3500 crewcab dually 4 X 4 for 15 months. I’m now on my third recall. Poor steering suspension bracket wields which crack and cause loss of control, driver front air bag wiring routed wrong causing air bag to deploy for no reason and lastly, the side airbags not deploying at all. Guess what? Last UAW built vehicle for me. Maybe, just maybe, the UAW should be concerned about the safety of their customers, too.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    That freshly painted underbody is glorious for some reason.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The United Auto Workers don’t seem so united right now. I guess I don’t understand how this system works.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    Watching HDC & Big Al discuss how collective bargaining works reminds me of my lower-level classes trying to discuss the presidency. It’s full of misconceptions and outright silliness. For the most part this hangup is a mixture of job security and job safety. It’s nice of interesting to use a random person on FB for a quote to get ‘union sentiment’ or anything else. But I’m not exactly worried about the UAW.

    The future is actually looking better for collective bargaining as various economists are starting to support a more corporatist relationship between capital and labor but is unlikely to change until chunks of taft-hartley and thrown away and that looks increasingly likely in a new 5-4/6-3 supreme court. Especially if this current court makes more aggressive changes (essentially opening the door to unraveling them immediately and solidifying decades of control).

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Watching HDC & Big Al discuss how collective bargaining works reminds me of…”

      George and Lennie.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      My FRIEND, Commrade, Xeranar,
      You make an overstatement.

      Where did I suggest anything about collective bargaining.

      I work for a relatively large organisation/institution. We don’t collectively bargain. I discussed how we manage change.

      The term Collective is so Marxist and un American/Australian/Canadian.

      Maybe you should move to Nth Korea where your talents are needed.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Yes yes, cold war propaganda jargon…you do realize that’s the proper scientific term for unionism, right? It’s actually far stronger in Canada and even stronger in Australia. The irony that you seem to make is getting into CJ territories.

        We all get it, you’re anti-union with HD or rather, you think the world works dramatically different and unions aren’t necessary. Whatever the case may be try to keep it to earth since most of what you’re saying is patently false or obnoxiously naive.

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