About half of General Motors Co.’s 52,600 hourly employees have cast their votes for the tentative labor deal between the Detroit automaker and United Auto Workers as momentum builds toward ratifying the four-year pact.
Workers at GM’s large Fort Wayne Assembly Plant in Indiana supported the tentative contract in results posted on social media early Thursday, with 58 percent voting “yes,” and 42 percent voting “no.” The plant builds pickup trucks for the automaker and has about 3,730 hourly workers.
A majority of workers at GM’s Spring Hill Assembly, Wentzville Assembly, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Flint Engine and several Pontiac-area facilities on Wednesday voted in favor of the tentative agreement. Workers at GM’s Warren Transmission and Parma Metal Center voted against it .
More voting was scheduled to take place through the end of the week at large plants like Lordstown and Lansing Delta Township.
At Spring Hill, the tentative agreement passed 60 percent to 40 percent. Production workers voted in favor 67 percent to 33 percent , while 64 percent of skilled trades workers voted against the deal.
In Wentzville, 60 percent of production workers voted for the deal, while 66 percent of skilled trades workers voted against it.
Employees at Warren Transmission, did not support the agreement, with 54 percent of members voting “no” to the deal. Production workers were split by a 50-50 margin, while 73 percent of skilled trades members voted against it. At Parma, 53 percent of workers voted against the deal. Production workers passed it by a 55 percent 45 percent, but 71 percent of skilled trades workers voted against it.
At Detroit-Hamtramck, which has about 1,400 union members, production workers voted 56 percent in favor of the deal, while 58 percent of skilled trades workers voted against it. The deal passed at the plant 54 percent to 46 percent.
In Flint, at GM’s Flint Engine Plant, 82 percent of production workers voted in favor of the four-year pact, while 50.5 percent of skilled trades workers voted yes, according to social media posts. At the Pontiac facilities, 68 percent of production workers voted yes and 55 percent of skilled trades voted yes.
Romulus Powertrain workers voted in favor of the contract, with 54 percent casting “yes” votes compared to 46 percent “no,” according to results published on social media.
Detroit-Hamtramck entry-level employee John Jablonski said he is happy with the contract because it addresses health care, wages and the ability to transfer.
“I am extremely grateful the UAW has made serious progress with restoring its motto of ‘equal work for equal pay,’ ” said Jablonski, 24, of Taylor. “I cannot stress enough that the UAW took the lower-wage tier only to save the jobs of many auto workers, and to keep the American auto industry alive. And now the UAW is fighting for us to get the wages and benefits we deserve.”
Jablonski said it is “huge” for him that if the contract is ratified, entry-level workers will be able to receive the traditional workers health care plan.
“I have two children, so I think I’m able to appreciate it more than some of the other younger progression workforce,” he said.
Voting has been close at some plants such as Toledo Transmission, where a majority of workers narrowly voted against the deal.
Larry Hicks of Southfield voted against the contract. Hicks, 58, who has worked at GM for 40 years and is employed at the Toledo powertrain plant, said he voted against the tentative deal not for himself, but for other union members.
He said he doesn’t think tier-two workers should have to wait eight years to receive traditional wages, that they should receive pensions — and retirees should get more than $500 in the contract.
“They’ve got plenty of money,” Hicks said of GM. “So let us get some of that money.”
SeVonte Frederick, a veteran worker of nine years at Warren Stamping, said he’s “fine” with the raises for veteran workers, but wanted to see the two-tier system completely eliminated.
“I feel like everybody should be on the same level,” he said walking into the plant Wednesday.
The union and GM approved the tentative agreement late on Oct. 25, averting a possible strike.
The deal includes the first hourly wage increase in nearly a decade for some; an $8,000 signing bonus for all workers and $2,000 for temporary workers; and gradual elimination of the pay gap between veteran workers and newer hires.
It also would move entry-level workers to the same health care plan as veteran workers in January, award each worker an annual $1,000 performance bonus and an additional $500 bonus when quality targets are met, and offer 4,000 eligible employees a $60,000 early retirement bonus.
The pact includes GM’s promise to invest $1.9 billion in its U.S. facilities, creating or retaining 3,300 jobs at 12 plants through 2018.
About 3,400 hourly workers under the automaker’s subsidiary GM Components Holdings LLC as well as temporary workers, would not have a path to traditional wages of $29 an hour or more as their assembly, powertrain and stamping counterparts.
GMCH workers, many of whom expected to receive substantial raises, would top out at $19.86 an hour, followed by three yearly 3 percent wage increases and a 3.7 percent in the final year of the deal. A worker already at the top pay would get $2.52 raise over the four years to about $22.40 an hour at the end of the four years.
Workers at Ford Motor Co. are still waiting their turn at the negotiating table. Talks with the Dearborn automaker remain on hold until the GM deal is ratified.
Staff writer Michael Wayland contributed.
EMPLOYEES BY PERCENT
Warren Tech Center
Lansing Grand River
Several Flint plants
Saginaw Metal Casting
Parma Metal Center
Spring Hill Assembly