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USA - Toledo GM workers narrowly reject labor contract

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

Hourly workers at General Motors Co.’s Toledo Transmission plant narrowly rejected a tentative labor contract between the union and the automaker, United Auto Workers officials said today.

Ray Wood, president of UAW Local 14, which represents 1,800 union workers at the plant on Alexis Road, said production workers ratified the pact 51 percent to 49 percent and skilled trades workers voted against it by 59 to 41 percent in voting that began Sunday and ended late Monday night.

Combined, the workers turned down the agreement, with 731 votes against and 723 for it.

“The results will now be sent on to the International and hopefully the contract will pass,” Mr. Wood said.

At an informational meeting last week at the UAW Local 14 hall, several members who spoke with The Blade expressed mixed feelings about the deal, but most said they expected it to pass. The contract includes new work for the plant, though details are slim. The contract says the plant would get a new “transmission-build module” that would create or retain 421 jobs. The plant has about 1,800 hourly workers.

Workers at plants in Michigan and Texas also voted Monday on the proposed four-year agreement, which includes an $8,000 signing bonus for each worker, raises for all employees, and improved health-care coverage.

UAW leaders hoped that those workers provided momentum for ratification after union members at two plants delivered mixed results over the weekend.

A majority of workers at UAW Local 31 in Kansas City, Kan., voted to reject the contract over the weekend, while workers at UAW Local 652 in Lansing voted in favor, as did members of UAW Local 174, a customer-care and parts center in Ypsilanti, Mich., where 76 percent of workers voted for the deal.

To be ratified, a majority of 52,700 workers must vote yes. Voting at plants nationwide ends Friday. Workers at GM’s Defiance Castings Operations were to vote this week. The plant has about 1,000 workers.

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada held a conference call Saturday with top local officials, urging them to encourage members to support the deal.

Ms. Estrada and other UAW leaders encouraged elected UAW local officials to use social media and walk through their plants to talk about financial and other terms.


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