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General Motors, UAW Begin Talks on New Contract

Lisa Autry

General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union begin negotiations on Tuesday over a new, four-year contract.  The talks will impact about 900 hourly workers at the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green.

Despite announcing plans in November to close five U.S. plants, General Motors says it has no plans to move more production overseas.  CEO Mary Barra reiterated the claim in April during a visit to the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green.

“General Motors is absolutely committed to investing in and growing good-paying manufacturing jobs in the U.S.," she stated.

Barra said GM has invested $23 billion in American plants since 2009, including the one in Bowling Green as it prepares to produce the next generation Corvette. 

Preventing the shift of jobs to Mexico will be a priority as GM and the UAW head to the bargaining table. 

Another likely sticking point is the use of temporary workers.  Seven percent of GM’s current workforce is made up of temps and the automaker has hinted at increasing the number of those workers to bring GM more in-line with its competitors.  Temporary workers can help with absenteeism and market fluctuations, and while those employees do the same work, they aren’t eligible for many of the benefits that full-time, hourly employees receive. 

Officials with the GM plant in Bowling Green and the local UAW chapter declined to be interviewed ahead of the talks.  The current contract between GM and the UAW expires September 14.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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