5-year deal between Nexteer, union easily wins approval

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Low-wage autoworkers reject rotten contract, walk out.

DETROIT — UAW-represented workers approved a new labor contract with Nexteer Automotive Corp. nearly two weeks after overwhelmingly rejecting a previous deal and engaging in a one-day strike.

Voting concluded Friday night on a sellout agreement between the United Auto Workers and Nexteer Automotive in Saginaw, Michigan amid a barrage of threats and intimidation by the UAW management. The strike began after workers at the plant, in Buena Vista, Mich., voted a whopping 3,103 to 80 against a new contract that maintained a multitier pay scale and kept everyone’s wages low while increasing worker health care costs. Many workers told the World Socialist Web Site that they felt they had been duped into voting on the ratification of a document that had not even been finalized.

The plant, where workers make steering components, was originally part of General Motors and then became a Delphi plant when GM spun off its parts division. GM then took the plant back from Delphi but the workers were not brought under the UAW-GM master contract; wages were kept below what most GM workers make. Then, to allow the plant to be bought by Nexteer and avoid a plant closing, the UAW agreed to let Nexteer cut wages again and have an even lower wage for future hires. “We’re making history right now. It imposes an inferior health care plan while stipulating a long of list of infractions for which workers can face discipline, all while Nexteer is earning record profits.

Other differences include a $2,000 signing bonus, up from $1,500, employees being able to defer holidays into the next calendar year and changes in vacation or relief time from the previous contract. In order to browbeat workers into ratifying this second sellout, UAW officials went around the plant warning workers that the facility would likely close if workers again voted down the contract.

Voting took place over two days following two days of informational meetings, a stark contrast to the one-day voting period and rollout for the first contract. These scare tactics were backed up by management personnel, who threatened disciplinary action against workers caught discussing the contract on company time. One Nexteer worker told the WSWS, “People who voted yesterday said they wouldn’t have voted the way they did because the union is adding stuff to the contract. How can we vote when we don’t know what we are voting on? “One bargaining committee member wanted to sign a memorandum of understanding to impose the Alternative Work Schedule on the whole worksite.” The AWS allows the company to schedule staggered 10-hour shifts without payment of overtime after eight hours or on Saturdays. “They are trying to write MOUs on a contract that is not ratified! Nexteer employs 12,000 workers worldwide and provides steering and driveline systems to automakers including GM, Fiat Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.

Whichever way the vote goes, this strike — which follows the resistance to two-tier contracts at Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler and a monthlong UAW strike against two-tier at Kohler — demonstrates that autoworkers are part of the global resistance to the low wages that have fueled the recovery for the capitalists. They look at an autoworker driving a Cadillac and say, ‘he can’t have that; he’s an autoworker.’ “The union went right along with all these plans.

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