June 19, 2024

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Why many UAW members oppose GM, Ford, Stellantis deals

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UAW members attend a rally in support of the labor union strike at the UAW Local 551 hall on the South Side on October 7, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. 

Jim Vondruska | Getty Images

DETROIT – The United Auto Workers achieved record contracts with the Detroit automakers following contentious talks and roughly six weeks of targeted labor strikes. But not all of the union’s members are satisfied with the tentative agreements.

The deals, which were recommended for ratification by UAW leaders, are each currently on pace to pass. Yet they’ve received notable rejections at major Ford Motor and, especially, General Motors plants in recent days. Workers at Chrysler-owner Stellantis are still in early voting but have so far largely backed the contract.

GM’s Spring Hill Assembly plant in Tennessee on Monday became the most recent major facility to vote against the contract, with 67.5% of UAW members rejecting it. That came after 52% of members at GM’s Flint, Michigan, truck plant voted against the deal. At Ford, the automaker’s Kentucky Truck Plant – its largest in terms of employment and revenue – had 54.5% of members vote against it.

Reasons behind the disapproval vary, according to industry experts and UAW members who spoke with CNBC. They range from veteran workers not receiving as much as newer employees under the terms of the deals, including retirement benefits. They’re also concerned about language in the tentative agreements. There’s also lingering distrust in union leadership after past corruption scandals of former leaders.

Others cite inflated expectations from UAW President Shawn Fain regarding 40% pay increases, traditional pensions and retiree health care for all, the elimination of “tiers” and a 32-hour workweek.

“I don’t think the tentative agreement goes far enough. I think it’s divisive. It doesn’t get rid of the tiers, and it doesn’t meet all of our needs as a whole,” said Brian Keller, a former UAW presidential candidate in several past elections and an…

2023-11-14 15:03:27

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