Five UAW locals reject tentative GM agreement; will Ultium vote 'no'?
It's been about two weeks since the international UAW announced a landmark tentative agreement with GM, which included battery plant workers at Ultium in Lordstown.
But since then, at least five GM plants have voted down that agreement.
"This does add a wrench in the whole process," says Vince Bond of Automotive News, adding that the defeats likely came at the hands of older workers.
The tentative agreements didn't secure pension for all workers. Those hired after 2007 still only get 401k plans, which is a contrast to those hired before who recieve pension. This issue could still be a pain point for some despite some monumental pay raises and other gains.
"It looks like there could be a generational divide among some of the workers," said Bond. "And so there's almost like a tiered system within the retiree system, so I'm thinking that's a pretty huge thing that's going to bother a lot of workers."
The caveat could be that since the margins of defeat are narrow, the union could go back and rally more votes.
It's essentially compromise, like those deals that get done between opposing parties in Washington.
It could pay dividends by the next contract in four and a half years.
"When you see that many locals already declining it, they may be emboldened, the workers in the coming days could be emboldened to say hey maybe we could get more leverage here," Bond says.
As he sees it, the UAW's modus operandi all along has been to make gains in this latest deal through calculated risk taking.
But could it backfire?
"The UAW wants to be unpredictable here, so maybe this is all part of the master plan," says Bond.
We'll get a better idea when Ultium workers vote on the deal next week.