Potential UAW Strike Could Delay the Start of C8 Corvette Production


Potential UAW Strike Could Delay the Start of C8 Corvette Production

Corvette enthusiasts have waited for years on the new mid-engine Stingray.

Now they are pulling for General Motors and United Auto Workers negotiators to reach a labor agreement by midnight Saturday.

If they don’t, production of the highly touted mid-engine C8 could possibly be delayed.

Jack Bowers, president of the UAW Local 2164 that represents Corvette workers, is hopeful a strike won’t happen but admits he saw the possibility coming.

“Nobody wants to strike,” Bowers told the Bowling Green Daily News. “That’s never good. It would affect not only our workers but our suppliers and stuff.”

The UAW represents more than 150,000 hourly workers at GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, and union workers at all three companies have already voted overwhelmingly to strike if necessary, which would mark the first time for such a stoppage at GM in 12 years.

The union has targeted GM first to negotiate a new contract but remains upset with the company’s decision to shut down plants in three states amid continuing pressure to cut labor costs to more closely resemble foreign-based automakers like Toyota and Nissan.

Bowers also pointed to problems caused by the 2015 contract, which included bonuses and other perks for veteran workers, who make between $28 and $38 an hour, but offered little for younger workers and part-timers who make about $8 an hour less than established workers.

That contract expires at midnight Saturday.

“We’re not trying to break the bank,” Bowers said, “but we would like for everybody to have a decent job.”

The timing couldn’t be worse for fans eagerly awaiting the first mid-engine Corvette, slated to begin production in December at the Bowling Green plant where a second shift has already been added in anticipation of heavy demand for the car.

Corvette Assembly Plant Communications Manager Rachel Bagshaw is hopeful a strike won’t happen.

“GM’s goal is to continue having constructive discussions with the UAW on reaching an agreement that builds a strong future for our employees and our business,” Bagshaw said in an email.

She says the Bowling Green facility is “still ramping up” for the eighth generation Corvette, adding that “nothing is on hold. It’s business as usual until they decide something. I hope they can work it out.”

Bowling Green Daily News

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  1. 60 years in the making and now this. Ya I agree with Denyce, it would be a good idea to have workers there that want to be there.

  2. I used to be at GM and whenever there was a strike the UAW would target specific plants for work stoppages. This would put pressure on GM to negotiate more quickly. With the new Corvette so well received and orders piling in that may make Bowling Green Assembly a good target. When I recently went up to BG to build my LT-4 engine in the PBC my guide told me what some of the pay scales were. They are fairly low, if you’ve never worked on an assembly line please don’t take the stance they get paid too much, because it is very difficult work to perform hour after hour and day after day. The parts or cars just keep coming at you and never seem to stop. I was lucky to have only been on the line a short time before I started an apprenticeship and eventually became the one who repaired the lines when they broke. I worked as fast as possible and when I finished I got a break, much different scenario to be in as a worker.

  3. I never question union workers vs their wages. We want reliable and beautiful cars-especially Corvettes-so I support them within reason. If horribly underpaid, they can’t expect to make it up at once.

  4. I understand what you mean Denyce. The performance build center group I spent time around told me they read the various Corvette Forums and the blogs like this one which is cool, and the rest of the Corvette Plant workers are really a good bunch, when I walked along with my Z06 while they assembled it, most came over to talk and thank me. Some goofed around and put the wrong color body parts on the car to get my attention. They did a very good job on the panel fit and everything I can see is as good as it could be. I wouldn’t say they’re horribly underpaid, but I spent a week around the factory and food and stuff costs the same as it does anywhere in the US, maybe the housing and property taxes aren’t as high. I think this potential strike is mostly against GM closing plants and moving workers around. I own a Cadillac SRX and it was made in Mexico. They did a good job assembling it, but it still bugs me my $50K 2013 Cadillac couldn’t have been made in the US.

  5. I too have been to the assembly plant, although many years ago. The workers were nice and didn’t seem to mind being watched by “amateurs” I want to go back sometime. I have a C7 coupe and for now am happy with it, but the C8 is very tempting!

  6. Let them strike . I’ve had three . 67 + 86 + 76.. time to try something else. Ford makes a snake..

  7. latest news:
    Members of the United Auto Workers union working at General Motors decided Saturday night to stay on the job past a midnight deadline for a new contract, but remained on the verge of a strike.

    In letters late Saturday to both GM and 46,000 hourly workers at 31 GM factories and 21 other facilities across the nation, the union said no strike would be started at least until a Sunday 10 a.m. ET meeting of union officials representing members at GM.

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