At the special bargaining convention in Detroit, UAW officials said that the Detroit 3 are on the brink of having full employment at their U.S. operations after years of financial difficulties and layoffs. UAW Vice President Joe Ashton said that the last 2,000 hourly workers at General Motors on layoff will resume work by September.
UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles shared that Ford Motor Co.'s hourly workers represented by the union have also gone back to work, except for several temporary layoffs at Ford's Louisville Assembly Plant. Ford is currently retooling the Louisville factory to build the next-generation Ford Escape.
UAW-Chrysler department Vice President General Holiefield said that Chrysler has added about 5,000 workers since 2009 and currently has a total of about 25,000 hourly workers. Holiefield said that as Chrysler winds down its Trenton North engine plant and the Detroit Axle plant, it will have about 500 workers idled in the coming weeks.
But he gave assurances that those workers, who were displaced when new replacement Chrysler plants couldn't use all the workers, will be reabsorbed quickly at other Chrysler factories.
UAW-represented employment at the Detroit 3 has stabilized as U.S. auto sales have gone up to an annualized rate of 13.4 million light vehicles in February, says Autonews. Since the last bargaining convention in 2007, GM’s workforce that’s represented by UAW has declined from around 75,000 to 49,000 as plants shut down and workers left either by retiring or through attrition.