May 29, 2009

Eight UAW locals approve GM concessions

Eight union locals said they voted to support contract concessions with General Motors Corp. as the giant U.S. automaker heads toward bankruptcy.

While the final tally on the United Auto Workers vote is expected at the end of the day, individual locals reported approvals that ranged from 70 percent at Local 602 in Lansing, Mich., to 88 percent at Local 1854 in Spring Hill, Tenn., The Detroit News reported Friday.

It was a tough, but necessary vote, Local 599 leader Terry Everman in Flint, Mich., told the newspaper.

Key concessions include giving up cost-of-living raises and performance bonuses and one paid holiday in 2010 and 2011, suspending tuition assistance and dental and eye care coverage, and reducing prescription drug coverage. The contract also raises co-pay obligations for some workers and eliminates the option to accept pay for unused vacations.

A lot of our members understood that we needed to do it, Local 730 President Greg Golembiewski said.

General Motors planned to file for bankruptcy Monday, the Detroit Free Press said. The U.S. government would likely end up with 72.5 percent of the restructured company. The UAW would end up with 17.5 percent. Bondholders would receive 10 percent, the Free Press said.