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Bowling Green UAW Leader 'Cautiously Optimistic' over Tentative Labor Deal

Lisa Autry

Striking General Motors employees in Bowling Green and across the nation could be headed back to work in a few days. 

GM and the United Autoworkers Union have reached a tentative deal over a new contract that would end a month-long work stoppage.

"We can confirm the UAW’s statement regarding a proposed tentative agreement," said Dan Flores, Manager of GM Corporate News Relations. "Additional details will be provided at the appropriate time."

The new contract likely to include pay raises and assurances that GM will build new vehicles in U.S. factories.  Temporary workers also want a clear path to full-time employment. 

Lynn Nelson is vice president of UAW Local 2164 and works in the paint shop at the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green where nearly 900 workers are on strike.  He says employees he’s spoken to on the picket lines are cautiously optimistic.

“We didn’t fully expect it to go this far. We were hopeful it would be a short strike like the ones in the past, but we ready to take it as long as we have to," Nelson told WKU Public Radio. "I think everybody is ready to get back to work now and go back to the business of making cars.”

Union leaders from all nine states where GM has manufacturing operations are scheduled to vote on the proposed agreement on Thursday.  After that, the new four-year contract has to be finalized by rank-and-file union members, which could take up to two weeks.  Local union leaders will decide whether workers will remain on picket lines or return to work during the voting process.

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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