Local UAW Waits for National Vote

Posted: 9:56 PM Oct 7, 2007
Last Updated: 11:12 PM Oct 7, 2007
Reporter: Forrest Sanders, WBKO TV, Bowling Green, KY
Email Address: forrest.sanders@wbko.com

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On Oct. 4, WBKO reported that the local United Auto Workers ratified a contract agreement with General Motors.

Now, UAW members have finished voting, but it will be a few more days before the results can be revealed.

It's a big vote, and one that will decide whether or not Corvette plant employees will receive the benefits that come with this tentative plan.

It was a strike that lasted only two days. Now, nearly two weeks later, 688 Corvette plant employees who picketed in the streets have voted to ratify a tentative contract.

"I believe that most of the locals are passing it--somewhere in the 60s, I believe," said Eldon Renaud, local UAW president.

But what about the other 40-percent of local voters? The contract offers a frozen wage rate for four years, in addition to continued benefits for retirees.

It sounds like what the employees were hoping to get, so why is the vote so largely split?

"Well, you've got to understand that there's new ground, and people aren't familiar with the two tier wage scale," Renaud explained.

What that means is that entry level employees would work at a lower wage--$14 to $15 an hour. That's opposed to the minimum $25 an hour of other plant employees.

"With all the foreign competition, elsewhere, I think GM is trying to shave costs to be more competitive," Renaud said.

Of course, another big selling point of the contract is the addition of the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice to the Corvette plant production line.

"It's in the contractual language, it's a definite. General Motors has put this in writing," Renaud said.

But before any of these changes can be made, the local UAW has to wait for the vote of 73,000 workers nationwide. Renaud's staying optimistic and said he expects the local vote to mirror the local vote to mirror the national one.

"I've had nothing but positive comments from everyone. We were able to make the changes to keep the American automobile alive," Renaud continued.

Renaud added that he expects the national vote results to be known by Oct. 10.