Company News

UAW Locals Meeting with Members to Discuss Merger

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The members of UAW Locals 1112 and 1714 will meet Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the details of the merger between the two unions representing General Motors’ Lordstown Assembly.

Local 1112 President Glenn Johnson said this morning there is a timeline for the merger and some things will affect members, but details won’t be disclosed until after the meetings. The meetings are at 2 p.m. both days for second shift workers, while the first shift will meet at 3:30 p.m.

“We haven’t had a chance to sit down with the company and the international union to make sure we’ve got our I’s dotted and T’s crossed,” he said.

Friday afternoon, the two unions representing a combined 3,000 workers at the Lordstown Assembly complex announced that they will be merging. The plant, which manufactures the Chevrolet Cruze, is the only GM plant represented by two unions.

“The company is in a position where they have to negotiate with two locals with two separate agreements. That’s a point of contention,” Johnson said. “But the merger was more the local unions getting together and deciding that it would put us in a more competitive position for a future product if we were aligned with all the other facilities.”

In addition to the merger, there are “a bunch of things on the front burner,” the 1112 president said, to improve the plant. Work is being done to bring the plant up to General Motors’ Global Manufacturing System standards, which reduces the cost of manufacturing while improving quality.

Beyond just manufacturing, leadership is working toward getting the plant to Built-In Quality Level IV, a recognition from GM that the plant is working as efficiently as possible and has fluid communications between departments. The plant was awarded Level III in 2013.

And last week, GM announced that the Lordstown Assembly will be among the plants upgraded to use wind power by the end of 2018. Once the turbines are installed – and combined with the plant’s solar panel grid – the plant will run entirely on renewable energy.

“We’d like to get all the other pieces, including manufacturing, with moving the locals around to be able to be in the best possible position for whatever comes down the road, whether it’s the next generation Cruze or another platform,” Johnson said.

The announcement came just before a plant-wide shutdown the weeks of Sept. 25 and Oct. 2 due to a decline in small-car sales, the segment the Cruze is in. The plant also had three-week shutdowns in March and July.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.