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GM Workers in Bowling Green Vote This Week on Tentative Contract, Remain on Picket Lines

Lisa Autry

Workers in Kentucky and eight other states have begun voting on a tentative labor deal between General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union.

The proposed agreement represents $7.7 billion in investments in factories and additional employees.

Other highlights of the tenative contract include an $11,000 ratification bonus for full-time employees and $4,500 for temporary workers.

The deal also removes a $12,000 cap on profit-sharing payouts.  Employees will earn $1,000 for every $1 billion made in North America with no limits.

The tentative contract includes a shorter path to permanent employment for temporary workers.  Starting in January 2020, all full-time temporary members with three or more years of continuous service will begin converting to permanent employees.

UAW leaders have recommended that rank-and-file members approve the proposed contract. 

GM is giving union members until this Friday to ratify the proposed four-year deal.  Until that happens, workers will remain on the picket lines. 

"We encourage the UAW to move as quickly as possible through the ratification process, so we can resume operations and get back to producing vehicles for our customers," GM said in a statement. "Our goal during these negotiations was to ensure the future of General Motors is one that works for our employees, dealers, suppliers and the communities where we operate. The agreement reflects our commitment to U.S. manufacturing through the creation of new jobs and increased investment.”

Lynn Nelson is Vice President of UAW Local 2164 in Bowling Green, which is home to the Corvette Assembly Plant.  He says when the strike began on September 16, the factory was in the process of adding a second shift by the end of the year to produce the next generation car.

“I assume that’s going to throw schedules off, so well have to see where we’re at when we get back to work," Nelson stated. "These things take time. We don’t just shut things off and turn them back on, so they’ll be issues probably as we start up.”

While the tentative contract includes increased pay and more security for temporary workers, it proceeds with factory closures in Lordstown, Ohio; Warren, Michigan; and Baltimore, Maryland.

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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