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GM Shifts Bowling Green Temporary Workers to Permanent Employment

Lisa Autry

General Motors workers in Kentucky and seven other states are transitioning from temporary to permanent employment.  The automaker announced on Wednesday that 1,350 temps will gain full benefits by the end of March.

One of the main sticking points in last fall’s contract negotiations between GM and the UAW was the use of temporary workers.  Those employees typically put in full-time hours, but don’t have many of the same benefits as permanent employees. 

Following a five-week national strike, GM agreed to a shorter path to permanent employment.  The workers will start at $21-$24 dollars an hour depending on their seniority.  They'll get improved health care benefits, including dental and vision coverage.  The workers will also receive company 401(k) contributions and annual profit-sharing checks. 

Temporary workers are beneficial to automakers for helping with absenteeism and market fluctuations.  Nora Roper is the assistant plant manager at the Corvette Assembly Plant.                                                            

"There’s always a variation in our schedules, and we always want to make sure we can make all those vehicles for our customers, and this is one way of doing that," Roper told reporters.

About seven percent of GM’s total workforce is made up of temporary workers and the new contract with the UAW allows the automaker to bring on additional temps. 

The Bowling Green plant is adding a second shift and around 400 workers to build the new mid-engine Corvette, known as the C8.  Those assembly lines ramp up to full production next month.

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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