4/18/08

UAW on strike v. GM Lansing

Workers from GM's Delta Township plant are on the picket line after walking off the job Thursday at 10am. Union officials and GM management had been working around the clock to reach a deal on a local contract but those talks broke down. Workers walked out shortly after contract negotiations between the union and GM management officially broke down. Union officials say the local contract deals with issues specific to the Delta Township plant like workplace safety and overtime.

That's different than the national contract, which focuses on big ticket items like health care and pensions. Neither the union nor GM will go into any specifics about what's holding up a deal but both sides say they are disappointed that it came to this.

Doug Rademacher, President Local Union 602: "It's not a matter of convenience, this is about respect in the work place and language where our workers have some improvements in how we're going to work forward. That's what we're here to do today."

Dan Flores, GM Spokesperson: "From a management perspective, we want to resolve this as soon as we can. There are a lot of customers who want Acadias and Enclaves and we want to build them and sell them to them."

The union says they'll strike for as long as it takes. But both sides will be back at the bargaining table Friday at 10 am.

While the workers are off the job they are getting some compensation from the union. Workers will get paid $200 a week for walking the picket line once they've been on strike for 10 days. In addition to that, the union is covering major health benefits. This isn't the first time workers at the Delta plant have taken to the picket lines. Just last fall workers walked off the job as part of the UAW's national strike against GM. The Delta plant is one of GM's premier plants and its newest. It produces some of the automaker's hottest vehicles including the GMC Acadia, the Saturn Outlook, and the Buick Enclave. All three of the crossover vehicles have been hugely successful on the market since the 1.5 billion dollar Delta Township plant opened in 2006 to make these vehicles.

(wlns.com)

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