Instead of taking a 50% pay cut under a new plant owner, about 625 UAW-represented workers at General Motors Co.'s Indianapolis stamping plant prefer that GM shut the plant. Last Thursday, a contract vote was held at the union hall of UAW Local 23 where 416 hourly workers cast their no votes before a video camera, according to UAW shop chair Gregory Clark.
The official ratification was by mail-in vote but the members wanted to have video evidence of their vote to make sure that the count was accurate. The entire process was videotaped, including the delivery of the ballots from the union hall to the US Post Office.
A tentative agreement negotiated by the UAW International with Illinois stamping company J.D. Norman Industries was rejected by the workers. J.D. Norman said that it will purchase the plant and let it stay open if the concessions were ratified.
In an interview, UAW Region 3 Director Mo Davison said that the deal is fair and will preserve their rights to move to other GM plants if they wanted to.
The official vote count is expected to be revealed on Monday. Davison said that if the deal falls through, GM could start removing tools from the plant immediately and close it down by next summer. When asked to comment, GM spokesman Chris Lee said it would be premature to do so until the completion of the official balloting this Monday.
However, Clark said that workers weren't worried about those prospects. A third of the plant's 625 employees can retire any time and most of them think that they can transfer to other GM plants in other parts of the nation.
He said that workers chose to take their chances as this pay cut would result to a straight-time annual salary below $30,000. He explained that this compensation would make a family of four qualify for food stamps in Indiana. [via autonews - sub. required]