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As voting on the sellout contracts negotiated by the United Auto Workers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis continues, significant opposition has emerged, with workers voting to reject the contract at four General Motors plants.
According to results posted by United Auto Workers Local 598 Thursday, production and skilled trades workers at Flint Assembly voted by a combined 51.8 percent margin against the contract. The exact totals have not been released. There are over 4,500 workers employed at the plant, which builds the profitable Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light trucks.
Workers at three smaller facilities, Pontiac Stamping (212-169), Marion, Indiana Stamping (257-218) and Romulus, Michigan Powertrain (351-332) have also voted against the contract.
Production workers at the Flint Engine Plant, members of UAW Local 659, voted the contract down by a 52 percent margin, according to a post by the local on Facebook, which also stated that skilled trades and other units in the amalgamated local turned in majority “yes” votes. At Factory Zero in Detroit, the UAW announced that the contract passed among production workers by a narrow 53.6-46.4 percent margin.
Reacting to the vote at Flint Engine, one worker posted on Facebook about the UAW’s supposedly “historic” contract. “Drop in a bucket if you ask me since the higher-ups are raking in millions a year in pay! I don’t think it’s balanced at all! Whenever did they take concessions like the hourly people did over the years and the retirees? It’s their turn to be cut for eight years plus.”
The vote at Flint Assembly is significant, since it is the largest GM plant to vote so far. According to an online tally, before the vote at Flint is added, the contract had been passing by a margin of just 57.7 percent yes to 43.3 percent no. The vote among production workers was much closer, 53.25 percent yes to 46.75 no. When the vote at the large Flint Assembly is added in, the contract vote will likely be nearly dead even.
“They are going up against the thousands of rank-and-file workers that have been abused and exploited by the company for decades”
Workers contacted by the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter said dissatisfaction with the contract was widespread. A temp worker at Flint Assembly said about the “no” vote, “Good. We’re the biggest GM assembly in Michigan, and it lets you know how the majority feels.
“I think it was rejected because it doesn’t go far enough. I know longtime seniority workers hate it because they got screwed. Most legacy seniority workers got nothing. And we temps got screwed too.”
A full-time temp at Flint Assembly said, “Not surprised after Engine Plant already voted it down. The workers know that there is more to get out of this.
“Legacy workers who have been here since before 2009 seem upset that there isn’t more in it for them. They gave up so much back then and feel like the temps and low seniority are getting the most out of the deal.
“Retirees and active members with retirees in their family find the $500-a-year bonus to be pitifully insufficient. Temps are frustrated that more could not be converted to seniority, even if they promise to shorten the time before conversion. Everyone is laughing at the $1,500 vehicle voucher.
“Maybe now the company will know they are going up against more than just the bargaining committee. They are going up against the thousands of rank-and-file workers that have been abused and exploited by the company for decades. They are going up against workers who are not afraid to tell them who really runs things around here.”
The extreme nervousness of the UAW apparatus in the face of the mounting opposition to the UAW-Detroit Three contracts was evidenced by the fact that UAW President Shawn Fain held a livestream event Wednesday afternoon to again defend the contracts. He repeated the claim that the contracts represented “historic” gains and that the pathetic “stand-up strikes,” which only mobilized a fraction of the UAW membership, had forced the companies to surrender major concessions to workers.
Fain repeated the lie that the contract ended the abuse of temp workers. He boasted that no one would be a full-time temp for more than nine months, without mentioning that a huge number of temps are part-time and thus not eligible for promotion. Further, nothing prevents management from laying off and rehiring temps before they work nine months, forcing them to restart their progression. At Stellantis, not even all current full-time temps will be immediately converted, forcing some to wait another nine months.
In the coming days, GM workers will vote at the larger assembly plants, including Lansing, Michigan; Wentzville, Missouri; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Spring Hill, Tennessee; Fairfax, Kansas and Arlington, Texas.