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UAW local members reject proposed GM contract

Alex Crichton

While the members of the United Auto Workers continue to consider a tentative contract deal across the country, local employees of GM have already decided they don’t like it. The settlement is aimed at ending a strike that began in mid-September.

Members of UAW Local 1097 in Rochester have already voted overwhelmingly to oppose that tentative offer from GM.

The contract  deal does offer items like pay raises and a process for moving temporary workers into permanent positions, but president of the Rochester UAW, Dan Maloney, says there’s one thing it doesn’t offer, and that’s a commitment to keep the Lexington Avenue plant viable into the future.

A big part of the work done by the  Rochester GM plant focuses on fuel systems for vehicles, and union officials learned last year that it’s possible the local plant could lose some of that work to another supplier in 2021.

Maloney says that’s why his members want to see some kind of future work guarantee in the new contract.

“And to give us the work commitment, the product commitment to keep our plant viable in the future for years to come. There are young folks working in this plant in their 20s and 30s, they need a future. That was not delivered to us,” Maloney said.

The UAW members around the country are voting at different times into Friday afternoon. Maloney is hoping that nationwide, the contract offer is rejected and that talks can re-start. In the meantime, members of his local and other unions continue to walk the picket line.

After the tentative agreement was released last week, GM released a statement which said in part, "Our goal during these negotiations was to ensure the future of General Motors is one that works for our employees, dealers, suppliers and the communities where we operate. The agreement reflects our commitment to U.S. manufacturing through the creation of new jobs and increased investment.”

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.