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1112 president won't support new pact without Lordstown deal

The UAW has delivered a proposal to put workers back in General Motors plants — but not in Lordstown, according to reports.
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9:35 a.m. UPDATE:

DETROIT — Ahead of the UAW National General Motors Council meeting this morning, UAW Local 1112 President Tim O’Hara is prepared to vote no on a contract that does not include a product for Lordstown.

“I couldn’t look myself in the mirror, and I couldn’t look my members in the mirror ever again by supporting it,” O’Hara told Mahoning Matters this morning in Detroit.

Sources report that the tentative contract that will be the subject of this morning’s meeting does not include a product for Lordstown.

“Everybody else outside of Lordstown could be looking at the big picture,” said O’Hara.

The UAW’s top contract priorities in these negotiations include health care, wages, job security and securing a path for temporary workers to acquire permanent status. The contract deadline passed Sept. 14 starting the longest strike in nearly 50 years, which has included almost 50,000 workers and resulted in more than $835 million in lost wages.

If the contract does not include a product for Lordstown, O’Hara plans to speak before the vote is taken.

“This year it’s about Lordstown; the next contract it could be about one of the other plants. They’re going to keep building plants in Mexico, in China, in Europe, wherever. Today it’s us, tomorrow it could be somebody else,” said O’Hara.

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5 a.m.

DETROIT — The United Automobile Workers union on Wednesday delivered a proposal to put workers back in General Motors plants — but not in Lordstown, according to reports.

UAW GM Vice President Terry Dittes announced in a Wednesday release negotiators for the union and GM reached a proposed tentative agreement which will be sent to the UAW-GM National Council for approval.

“The number one priority of the national negotiation team has been to secure a strong and fair contract that our members deserve,” Dittes said. "Out of respect for our members, we will refrain from commenting on the details until the UAW-GM leaders gather together and receive all details.”

Unknown yet is the fate of the GM Lordstown plant, which closed in March after being placed on "unallocated" status, after the end of the domestically built Chevy Cruze.

The deal is expected to extinguish hope of a new GM product at that plant, as reported Wednesday by The Detroit News, which cited sources familiar with the negotiations.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday though GM’s Detroit-Hamtrack plant will get a new electric pickup truck under the agreement, Lordstown’s only proposition remains with the newly formed Lordstown Motors Corp.

Lordstown Motors Corp., which is headed by Steve Burns, the former CEO of EV truck-maker Workhorse, has pledged to employ union workers to manufacture electric pickups at the Lordstown plant, as well as electric vehicle batteries through a GM partnership — but not nearly as many who made the Cruze.

A UAW-GM council meeting is set for this morning in Detroit, where officials will discuss the contract. Mahoning Matters will be reporting live from Lordstown and Detroit.

“We are extremely grateful to the thousands of Americans who donated goods and helped our striking workers and their families. As we await the Council’s decision, please know that the outpouring of community and national support will be etched in the memories of all of us at the UAW for years to come,” Dittes said.

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill told Mahoning Matters that while a new GM product at GM's Lordstown Assembly Complex would be the ideal outcome, there's doubt "whether that's going to happen or not."

He said he's waiting to see what comes out of today's council meeting.

"We still want to have a GM presence in the Valley. As far as Workhorse, we're wondering where the funding's going to be coming for that," he said. "There's too many unknowns right now.

"If General Motors is definitely going to look at Workhorse, I guess we'll have to come to the table and talk to them."

Similarly, UAW Local 1112 VP Bill Adams said the hall is "just holding out hope" the new agreement would bring the Lordstown plant back online.

If not, Adams added the fate of the hall would be "up in the air."

The strike — which is the longest since 1970, involving more than 46,000 UAW employees and stopping work at more than 30 GM facilities nationwide — will continue until the council confirms the agreement and the union votes to ratify, according to the Wall Street Journal.

 

 




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