GM Supplier Issues WARN Notice; UAW Sues Carmaker

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – On Wednesday, a supplier for the General Motors Lordstown Complex set a March 8 date to laying off “a significant portion” of its workforce, and the United Auto Workers filed suit against GM for not using laid-off workers at an Indiana plant where it is employing temporary workers.

Comprehensive Logistics and its subsidiary, Source Providers Inc., reported the March 8 date for the layoff, the result of GM’s announcement that it would discontinue production of the Chevrolet Cruze at Lordstown that month. The letter to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, as required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988, was dated Dec. 21 and time-stamped as received yesterday morning.

“We will retain a small fraction of the workforce to close the facility,” Patrick Pack, human resources manager, said in the letter to ODFS. “The number of employees has not yet been determined as of this date, but as soon as we know the number you will be notified.”

Workers at the Victoria Road plant in Austintown were notified Nov. 19 about the closing. About 180 Source Providers employees are represented by the United Steelworkers of America. The employees at Comprehensive Logistics are not represented by a union.

In its lawsuit, UAW International charges GM with breaching the National Collective Bargaining Agreement by employing temporary workers at its Fort Wayne Assembly Plant rather than transferring laid-off seniority members there, including 690 seniority employees now on layoff at Lordstown who have applied for transfers to fill openings there.

According to the suit, on May 31, 2018, the UAW approved GM’s request to employ temporary workers at Fort Wayne to support the launch of a new pickup truck.

The union rejected a subsequent request to extend the employment of the temporary group until Feb. 28 2019, but conditionally agreed to extend it through Dec. 31 of last year, provided that GM present a plan to eliminate the temporary group and transfer seniority employees to Fort Wayne Assembly.

On or around Oct. 31, GM presented a plan to the UAW that did not eliminate the temporary group until May 2019. In response, the union informed GM that it would only approve the employment of the temporary group through Nov. 30, 2018, giving it time to transfer seniority employees. Despite the union reiterating to GM on multiple occasions that it did not have the UAW’s approval to extend the temporary group past Nov. 30, it continues to employ the group at Fort Wayne rather than transferring the laid-off workers.

The suit requests that the court find GM in breach of its contractual obligations; order GM to cease using the temporary group, transfer seniority employees to Fort Wayne and make affected employees whole for losses resulting from the breach of contract, including but not limited to back wages, benefits, reallocation allowances and seniority credit; and order “such other and further relief” as the court sees fit.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.