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Saginaw: GM workers approve contract change

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Saginaw: GM workers approve contract change

BY JEWEL GOPWANI

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

UAW-represented workers at General Motors’s Nexteer steering plant in Saginaw approved contract changes Tuesday that requires them to give back raises in return for a cash payment and also includes a buy down for skilled trades workers.

The changes aim to help GM sell the Nexteer business, which it acquired from Delphi last year to help the supplier end its four-year bankruptcy case. GM has been seeking concessions from the five plants it acquired from Delphi, its former parts subsidiary.

Tuesday’s vote at the Saginaw plant, which employs 1,900 UAW represented workers, was the second taken at the plant. In early June, workers there overwhelmingly turned down a similar set of changes.

The ratified contract offers health care coverage to the families of newly hired workers and temporary employees who will be made permanent. The previous proposal offered health care only to workers and not their families.

“We appreciate our employees’ support as well as the trust they've placed in our ability to jointly create a strong future for the Saginaw site,” said Mike Gannon, Nexteer’s vice president of business strategy and human resources.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100630/BUSINESS0101/100630019/1210/BUSINESS01/Saginaw-GM-workers-approve-contract-change

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GM's Nexteer steering workers OK deal to give back raises

BY JEWEL GOPWANI

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

UAW-represented workers at General Motors' Nexteer steering plant in Saginaw approved a new contract Tuesday that requires them to give back raises in return for a cash payment and includes a cash buydown for skilled-trades workers to lower their wages.

The changes aim to help GM sell the Nexteer business, which it acquired from Delphi last year to aid the supplier in ending its four-year bankruptcy case. GM has been seeking concessions from the five plants it acquired from Delphi, its former parts subsidiary.

Ratification in Saginaw will lead to about 50 laid-off skilled-trades workers returning to work and Nexteer hiring more than 50 people for new positions, said UAW Local 699 President Troy Newberry.

"It puts us in a position to grow the business," Newberry said.

Nexteer's Saginaw plant employs 2,100 UAW-represented workers. Of those who voted, 72.5% approved the contract.

The contract includes a $5,000 payment to workers in exchange for rolling back a recent 3.7% raise to hourly wages. It also includes voluntary buydowns for production workers. Those payments range from $7,500-$40,000 for workers who agree to take wage cuts to between $12 and $14.50, depending on the job.

Skilled-trades workers would be required to take a $50,000 buydown in exchange for bringing wages down to $29 an hour from as high as $37 an hour.

Tuesday's vote was the second at the plant on a new contract. In early June, workers there overwhelmingly turned down a similar set of changes.

The ratified contract offers health care coverage to the families of newly hired workers and temporary employees whose status will be made permanent. The previous proposal did not extend health care coverage to the families of workers in both of those categories.

Mark Wilinski, 39, of Bridgeport, said he was happy that health care was expanded for newer workers. But he voted against the contract, saying that the union should lobby for higher wages instead of allowing a raise to be rolled back.

link:http://www.freep.com/article/20100701/BUSINESS01/7010412/1210/BUSINESS01/GMs-Nexteer-steering-workers-OK-deal-to-give-back-raises

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I don't understand why GM wants to sell these newly bought Delphi plants. If they get everything in order over there, as they seem to be, wouldn't it benefit GM to own such important suppliers like they used to?

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