UAW Chief Shawn Fain said the people would have their say, and the workers at General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan are saying “No thanks.” The proposed deal was voted down by a narrow margin, with complaints centering on mandatory overtime, the lauded cost-of-living adjustment and more.
In the wake of the tentative deals between the UAW and Detroit Three automakers, a vocal minority pushed to vote the deal down, and workers at GM’s Flint (MI) plant seem to agree.
UAW Local 598 voted the deal down by a narrow margin: 51.8 against. The site’s skilled trades workers voted in favor of the deal by nearly a two-thirds vote, but nearly 53% of the much larger group of hourly production workers, which includes temps and workers on tiered pay scales, voted no. More than 3,400 workers voted.
The result follows the lead of GM’s Flint engine plant, Local 659, which voted the deal down earlier this week with 52% against the deal. Local 163, which represents workers at Romulus (MI) Propulsion Systems showed that 51% of members voted no on Tuesday.
A scan of the union local’s social media reveals concerns not about the pay raise, but mandatory overtime, a delay in the implementation of the lauded cost-of-living adjustments, the phase-in period for ending wage tiers and more.
One Ford plant has voted against the deal, but 23 others have voted yes.
Fain and senior leaders endorsed the deal, walking GM workers through it using social media, but with the same message in the end: it’s up to you. The 4.5-year deal includes a 25% raise over the life of the pact, improvements to profit sharing, significant changes to the tiered wage system and more.
GM agreed to lump in the company’s Ultium EV operations into the master agreement.
Getting the company to include its Ultium operations in the master agreement was a goal stated early on by Fain, well before the formal contract talks began in July. He said the company was at least willing to consider the idea.
The union did go into the Lordstown Ultium facility and organize it, but it was on its own separate contract. Now that is no longer, and matches — at least on the surface — the deal with Ford where it agreed to lump its battery operations into the master deal as well.
Voting at other facilities will continue through the month of November, but this vote may give rise to others making the process more difficult.
“You can’t call giving up the farm mid contract in 2007 and not getting it all back in 2023 a historic contract,” one person wrote on the UAW’s Facebook page. “The company played us like a fiddle. We got exactly what they expected to give back. They’ve been planning this for years.”
It’s a sentiment Fain rebuffed in a Facebook Live event Wednesday.
“As you all know by now, I’m not afraid to trash a contract, but I truly believe these are record contracts and are a major victory for our movement,” he said.