DETROIT — With the tentative agreement between the United Auto Workers and General Motors comes the official news that the GM Lordstown Assembly Complex is closed.
The UAW National General Motors Council approved the tentative agreement today after a meeting in Detroit that took more than six hours. UAW/GM workers, however, will stay on strike until the membership ratifies the contract.
GM announced on Nov. 26, 2018 its plans to leave the Lordstown plant "unallocated." The 6.2-million-square-foot facility that opened in 1966 has been nearly empty since the final Cruze was produced in March.
Earlier today, sources familiar with the GM-UAW negotiations told Mahoning Matters that GM Lordstown will be closed and then sold to Lordstown Motors Corp. Steve Burns, CEO of Lordstown Motors Corp., declined to comment on that report and instead deferred to a GM spokesperson.
Jim Cain, GM spokesperson, said the company is "committed to future investment and job growth" in Ohio.
"Projects planned for the Mahoning Valley include the opportunity to bring battery cell production to the area, which would create approximately 1,000 manufacturing jobs, as well as the sale of the GM Lordstown complex to Lordstown Motors Corp., a new company that plans to build electric pickups for commercial fleet customers. Lordstown Motors Corp. plans to create 400 manufacturing jobs initially," he said in a statement.
“A big focus of the 2019 contract negotiations was GM’s abrupt announcement last November that there would be no future product for Detroit Hamtramck, Baltimore Transmission, Lordstown and Warren Transmission,” the "GM Contract: Hourly Workers" pamphlet being circulated among workers reads. “It is with sadness that, with this agreement, three of those four facilities will close. But we are pleased that Detroit Hamtramck will remain open with new product.”
Workers at those plants can choose between several assistance packages, including early retirement or retirement incentives, training assistance or buy-out.
“We remain strongly opposed to GM’s decision to “unallocate” these plants and we will continue our efforts to fight for UAW jobs in America,” the pamphlet states.
The contract gives full-time temporary workers “a shortened path to permanent status,” which was a major sticking point for union negotiators. Under the proposed deal, temporary employees can achieve permanent status after three years starting Jan. 6.
It also includes 3-percent raises in the contract’s second and fourth years and 4-percent lump sum payments in the first and third years for eligible workers. Each senior employee will get an $11,000 bonus if the contract is ratified and temporary workers will get $4,500.
In the longest strike since 1970, more than $835 million in wages were lost and more than $1.5 billion in profits, reported The Detroit News.
Bill Adams, local UAW vice president, said about 1,000 UAW workers who would be eligible to vote on the contract have been transferred to other GM facilities, meaning they may no longer cast a vote for the local 1112.
Only about 500 eligible voters remain, he said.