GM’s UAW workers ratify contract – USA TODAY
DETROIT — The United Auto Workers union and General Motors finally have a contract through September 2019.
“The General Motors Co. was notified on Nov. 20 that the agreement has been ratified,” wrote UAW Vice President CIndy Estrada in a letter to union leadership.
There will be grievances filed related to issues that led a majority of skilled trades workers to vote no, but that will not delay the contract any longer.
“It has been mutually agreed that appeal cases involving grievances filed on or after the effective date of the 2015 National Labor Agreement will carry the ‘CC’ designation for purposes of identification,” Estrada stated in the letter.
While proposed raises will take effect Monday, the two-week extension delayed payment of $8,000 signing bonuses for 52,700 GM workers until after Thanksgiving and the Black Friday weekend. The extension also created tension in some plants between production workers, who approved the deal, and skilled trades workers.
“A lot of people are already peeved because skilled trades are the highest paid manufacturing workers in GM,” said Steve Stahl, a production worker at the Arlington, Texas, assembly plant.
On the UAW GM Talks Facebook page, a worker from the Flint area named Robert Denicolo posted this evening: “Lesson learned. Next time I’ll know to vote no. Obviously the yes vote doesn’t count until the higher pay grade says it does.”
Both GM and the union have known since Nov. 6 that a majority of those UAW workers at GM voted to ratify the agreement.
Formal notification to GM has been delayed because skilled trades workers – the electricians, pipe fitters, millwrights and die makers who perform maintenance and other tasks beyond the training of production workers – rejected the deal by a 59.5% majority. Even though they were outnumbered by production workers, who approved it by 58% to 42%, the union’s constitution required meetings to learn the strongest objections were that led to skilled trades rejecting the contract.
UAW President Dennis Williams and Cindy Estrada, vice president of the union’s GM department, asked the company on Nov. 13 to extend a deadline for notifying the company until the close of business Nov. 20.
GM agreed to do so.
The union’s governing body, the International Executive Board, composed of Williams, vice presidents and regional directors, is charged with determining the union’s next step.