UAW 1112 Overwhelmingly Rejects GM Agreement

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — After a 12-hour vote at the United Auto Workers Local 1112 union hall Thursday, members have voted to reject by a large majority the proposed agreement from General Motors.

Of the 452 production workers, 399, or 88.3%, voted no, while 53, or 11.7%, voted yes. On the trades side, 13 voted no, while just eight voted yes. Despite the large numbers voting against the ratification of the agreement here, there seems to be little chance it will fail after voting closes nationally today at 4 p.m.

“Right now, the only way it would fail is with an overwhelming ‘no’ vote from Arlington, Texas, and Fort Wayne, Ind.,” Local 1112 President Tim O’Hara said. “The chances of that happening are pretty slim. Until the votes are in, we don’t know for sure.”

Local 1112 intended to hold its vote on Wednesday, but rescheduled it to Thursday after the UAW international moved its informational meeting to early Thursday to review contract details with the membership. Emotions were high during the meeting, O’Hara said. “There’s still a lot of anger and disappointment that there was nothing in the contract to save Lordstown.”

On March 6, the GM Lordstown Complex rolled its last Cruze sedan off the line before closing its doors and leaving some 1,600 workers without a job. Of the more than 1,200 workers who transferred to other GM locations, some 650 went to the Bowling Green Assembly in Bowling Green, Ky., and Spring Hill Stamping/Steel Plant in Spring Hill, Tenn.

The UAW locals representing those plants – locals 2164 and 1853, respectively – voted down the proposal. O’Hara believes the former 1112 members have done “a lot of talking” and influenced those votes, he said.

“Both of those votes went down. So I think that the former Local 1112 members at those locations definitely had an influence about how those votes turned out,” O’Hara said. “What GM did to us at Lordstown, they could basically do at any plant.”

UAW-GM’s 49,000 members have until 4 p.m. today to vote on the proposal from GM. Ratification would bring to an end a 39-day strike that has cost GM some $450 million weekly, as well as strike pay costs to the UAW’s strike fund to the tune of $12 million weekly, according to the Center for Automotive Research. The strike will continue until all votes are tallied.

On Thursday, The Detroit News reported a 60% majority of UAW members have thus far voted to ratify the agreement, and that 55% of workers yet to vote would have to vote ‘no’ for the ratification to fail.

On Wednesday, members of the UAW Local 598 in Flint, Mich. voted to approve the agreement, with 2,460, or 60.9% of the membership, voting yes and 1,577 voting no, according to the local’s Facebook page.

Kristin Dziczek, vice president of labor and manufacturing at the Center for Automotive Research, said the Flint local is second in size only to one at an SUV plant in Arlington, Texas, the Associated Press reported. “With that many yes votes, it will be hard for it not to pass,” Dziczek said.

During a press conference following the national council meeting Oct. 17, UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said the UAW-GM council had “voted to recommend for ratification the contract.”

Per the contract, workers would get an $11,000 signing bonus when the contract is ratified. For workers with 30 years seniority, including some from Local 1112, retirement bonuses are also available to the tune of $75,000 for production workers and $85,000 for trades workers.

For the Local 1112 members who refused to transfer when GM offered initially, the contract allows for a one-time second chance to transfer, O’Hara said.

“When they refused the transfer, they basically could only come back to Lordstown if it would ever reopen,” O’Hara said. “They have another shot to go to another GM facility if they desire.”

As for the local itself, leadership will soon need to meet with regional directors and assistant directors to determine how things will go from here, he said. The local still represents 17 individuals at the Mahoning County Department of Jobs and Family Services and iSynergy, Canfield, but it’s not enough to sustain a local union, he said.

Even if the GM-proposed battery plant in Lordstown comes to fruition or Lordstown Motors Corp. purchases the shuttered Lordstown plant and brings on UAW workers, “How much of a timeline are we looking at?” O’Hara said. A year or two down the road does nothing for Local 1112 members now, he said.

Pictured above: UAW 1112 members Gary West, Shawn Laughlin, Mike Kudlousky and Walter Phelps picket outside the GM Lordstown Complex on Oct. 17. The strike will continue until the vote is completed Oct. 25.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.