Why did the GM skilled-trades workers reject the UAW labor contract? image

Due to a negative feedback from General Motors’ skilled-trades workers, UAW leaders had to go on location to different GM plants and see why they are against the ratification even if the majority of the company’s workforce expressed their approval.

Despite getting 55% support from production and skilled-trades workers together, the union announced that the tentative agreement reached with GM towards the end of October has not been ratified yet as the UAW constitution requires both classes of workers to pass on the agreement.

The UAW leaders now have to find out why 60% of the skilled-trades employees voted against the tentative contract, workers which include electricians, mechanics and senior workers with specialized skills who do not work on the assembly line. The rejection can be overridden if they discover that the skilled-trades workers rejected it based on wages and benefits. Rumor has it that the skilled-trades workers are not eligible for a $60,000 retirement buyout that is included in the contract and which is available to around 4,000 production workers.

Back in 2011, when Chrysler’s skilled-trades workers also rejected the tentative deal, the UAW ratified the contract when they identified that the group of people objected to the economic aspects and not to the part of the agreement destined for skilled-trades.

So is this the same case and will UAW ratify the agreement?

If UAW finds that GM’s skilled-trades workers rejected the deal based on issues like the elimination of certain job classification, there might be another vote according to Kristin Dziczek, director of the labor and industry group at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michighan.

Union leaders are looking to find out the reasons behind the opposition and are talking to local union officials and workers at the plants to further determine what the following steps to be taken are.