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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