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UAW Strikers In Spring Hill Cite Future Of Temporary Workers As Reason To Reject GM Deal

Sergio Martinez-Beltran | WPLN

Members of the United Auto Workers union in Spring Hill cited the future of temporary workers at General Motors as a main reason why many of them voted against a deal meant to end the weeks-long strike with the automaker.

The Spring Hill local has rejected the proposal 51% to 49%, in one of the first votes on the contract nationwide.

Beth Bigley, 44, has been in the picket line for the last six weeks. She voted against the tentative agreement presented on Monday, mostly because she feels temporary workers are still not getting what they deserve.

“They work alongside us every single day," Bigley told WPLN. "They do all the grueling things that we do.”

The new proposal does create a shortened path for temps to become permanent employees. Temps would also get a ratification bonus of $4,500 dollars.

Marques Bello, a permanent employee, said the deal is not that bad, although he declined to share how he voted.

“Four years ago, they weren’t even on the negotiating board to be talked about as far as getting a raise," Bello said.  "This time they got a raise.”

Bello said the agreement is fair. But he acknowledged why some of his colleagues voted against it. He said the last weeks have shown that workers are standing for what they believe in and showing solidarity.

Meanwhile, UAW strikers suffered a tragedy Tuesday, when one member was hit by a car and killed crossing the street from the General Motors plant.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is Nashville Public Radio’s political reporter. Prior to moving to Nashville, Sergio covered education for the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden, Utah. He is a Puerto Rico native and his work has also appeared on NPR station WKAR, San Antonio Express-News, Inter News Service, GFR Media and WMIZ 1270 AM.
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