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Local UAW Leadership Prepares Members For Vote On Tentative Agreement With GM

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Samantha Horton
/
IPB News

Local United Automobile Workers union leaders are returning from Detroit to prepare members for a vote on a tentative agreement with General Motors. Some workers worry the proposal can’t prevent future plant closures.

At UAW Local 2209 union hall, it’s still business as usual with members coming and going from the picket lines outside the GM Fort Wayne Assembly plant as the strike will continue until a contract is ratified.

GM recently closed a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, that won’t be reopened under the current proposal. Combined with the auto company’s electric vehicle plans, some UAW members worry about the future of their jobs.

Local union president Holli Murphy says efforts have been made to retain jobs, but contracts can only do so much.

“No matter as much as we write in a contract, sometimes we’re not able to keep all that. Just like what happened to Lordstown,” says Murphy. “And many of us have come from plants that they have closed. As much as you want to hold onto that it’s not always a, you know, a promise or a guarantee.”

Murphy says the tentative agreement does provide temporary workers a path to permanent employment, a much needed improvement.

“Starting in January, you know, we’re going to be picking up so many temp workers across the nation,” she says, “and there is permanent path to employment for them, so that is huge. It’s a huge gain. You know before they had nothing, so we do have a place to start and it’s a great place to start.”

Union leaders will present the tentative contract to each of the local chapters starting Saturday. Members will be able to vote until midday Oct. 25.

Murphy says continuing the strike while members vote was the right decision.

“We believe that we brought membership out, right, and we’ve flexed our muscle if you will,” she says. “So we want to make sure that it’s right, they have time to read everything that they need to and ask as many questions as they need to before we go back in there, you know make sure that it’s ratified.”

Murphy says support from the community has helped her local chapter continue to strike for as long as needed.

Contact Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.