375 laid-off workers at a GM plant must transfer or will lose benefits

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 20, 2010

As part of a landmark deal with the UAW, 375 laid-off workers at a General Motors Co. small-car plant in Michigan would have to move to the Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio next month or risk losing all supplemental unemployment benefits.

The deal that the UAW entered lowers the wages at the Michigan plant in order that GM can reduce production costs that will enable it to produce small cars profitably in the US.

Those employees who were offered the transfer had earned full pay, or $28 an hour, before the Orion Township assembly plant north of Detroit was shut down last November to retool for the new 2012 Chevrolet Aveo subcompact that’s due next year.

However, there isn’t any room for these workers at Orion Township because under a new cost-saving UAW agreement, 40% of Orion's hourly work force will be getting Tier 2 or entry-level wages of $14 an hour. According to Orion Township workers who were at an informational meeting this week at the union hall of UAW Local 5960, Orion requires that only 800 of the 1,175 fully paid workers would be on layoff.

Meanwhile, the remaining, lower-seniority workers were offered a transfer to Lordstown or its accompanying stamping plant. UAW Local 5960 represents Orion Township workers.

Lordstown is operating three shifts that build the Chevrolet Cruze compact. When the Orion Township reopens next year, it will be making the Buick Verano compact aside from the Aveo.

When the Orion reopens, it will have about 800 workers recalled from layoff that earn $28 per hour and about 400-plus entry-level workers getting $14 an hour. [via autonews - sub. required]

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