A UAW official said that the $2 billion investment made by General Motors Co. for its U.S. factories boosts the outlook for their contract negotiations. Norwood Jewell, director of the UAW's 1C region, which represents workers in southern Michigan, said that the talks would go more smoothly “when the economy and the company are doing better.”
He clarified that by “better,” he isn’t necessarily referring to making more money. He said that it could be about creating more jobs. GM said that to expand small-engine plants in Flint and Bay City, Michigan, it will hire 96 more workers and spend $109 million.
These factories are included in the 17 sites that GM has announced would be getting $2 billion of investments in the next several months. Of the total investment, about $84 million of will go to Flint and $25 million will go to Bay City.
These factories make the 1.4- liter engines that are used in small cars like the Chevrolet Cruze, the Volt plug-in hybrid, and the Sonic that starts sales later this year. Last October, GM reversed plans to shut down an assembly plant in Orion Township, Mich., and kept 1,550 hourly and salaried jobs there to produce the Sonic and Buick Verano.
To get GM to commit to the product, the UAW agreed that this factory will be staffed by about 40% of workers that earn about half of the regular rate of $28 an hour.
Last week, GM announced that it will invest $131 million to revamp the Bowling Green, Ky., factory, which will be building a new version of the Chevrolet Corvette sports car. This demonstrates GM’s focus on the assembly of cars in the U.S.