Members of Bowling Green’s United Auto Workers Local 2164 voted overwhelming to authorize a strike if their concerns over safety and quality aren’t addressed by General Motors and plant management. UAW chapter President Eldon Renaud said the vote passed with 93.3% approval.
Renaud wasn’t specific in listing the safety concerns other than to say that “in an unsafe area you might have to go down into a pit or something like that. It’s just the safety procedures that are being followed.” he told WBKO.
And while the UAW says that safety is the big issue inside the plant, the other issue is quality control which Renaud believes the rank and file doesn’t have enough say in the matter.
“There’s some management practices going on. Maybe overriding the work of our inspectors saying, ‘Oh I think that one is good enough.’ We have to make sure that that stops. We don’t want management with punches to be able to punch something off that is our work. If we think it’s good enough than it’s good enough,” added Renaud.
The union has been quick to point out that holding the strike authorization vote was the first step in the process of negotiating with GM and doesn’t necessarily indicate that a walk-off is imminent. In addition to Local 2164 members approving a strike, it also must be approved by the regional and national UAW leaders before Corvette workers would actually walk off the job.
Plant management provided the following comment regarding the strike authorization vote:
“We pride ourselves in working with our UAW Local 2164 partners to achieve success and build award-winning vehicles. We’re confident that we can work together and have a strong track record of creative problem solving. We’ve built a world-class product at the Bowling Green facility for more than 30 years, with the safety of our employees and quality of the car at the forefront of every decision. We are committed to continue that tradition.”
There is currently no deadline for the negotiations between the local UAW and plant management and what happens next is something we’re not quite sure. The UAW will have three UAW International officials at the plant today for discussions with GM officials.
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