GM, Ford convert hundreds of temps to permanent employees

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — More than 650 General Motors Co. temporary employees and nearly 400 Ford Motor Co. employees will become permanent full-time employees this month, the automakers said Monday. 

GM and Ford Motor Co. both have agreements with the United Auto Workers to convert temporary employees to permanent positions so they can reach top wages and benefits like others have on the line. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' contract with the union doesn't set conversion dates like the agreements at Ford and GM.

Among the plants with converted temp positions are GM's major truck plants in Flint, shown here, and in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Arlington, Texas.

The union fought during the 2019 negotiations with the Detroit Three to secure a pathway for temporary workers to become permanent employees, increasing their pay and providing them benefits not accessible to temps. The fight included a 40-day strike against GM. 

"This life-changing event is a testament to our members' hard work as permanent temporary employees and the power of collective bargaining that created this defined path for them to seniority status," UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement. 

Among the plants with converted temp positions are GM's major truck plants in Flint and Fort Wayne, Indiana, and its large SUV plant in Arlington, Texas. These plants have been running overtime to keep up with high demand for the product while inventories have been tight because of an eight-week COVID-19 shutdown last spring. 

Ford made temp employees permanent at Kansas City Assembly where F-150s and Transit vans are made, and at Kentucky Truck where employees build the Super Duty trucks, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. 

Last January, GM converted more than 900 temporary employee positions across 30 facilities and Ford converted 592.

FCA is filling 3,850 jobs at its $1.6 billion Mack plant and another 1,100 jobs at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant once that plant gets a $900 million update, which hasn't started.

In filling those full-time positions, the company is granting current supplemental workers the first opportunity at those jobs to meet contractual obligations with the UAW.

Twitter: @bykaleahall