Settlement reached in GM parts plants Essay

The International Union of Electronic Workers (IUE) announcedmembership approval of a 3-year contract for 24,000 employees of nineGeneral Motors Corp. (GM) plants. Terms were similar to those in GM’s settlment with the UnitedAuto Workers (see Monthly Labor Review, December 1984, pp. 46-49),except that the IUE agreement provides for more paid time off, which theunion said was a high priority for the workers employed by GM’sDelco, Packard Electric, and other parts plants.

Under the IUEagreement, the paid absence allowance was increased to 9 work days inthe first contract year and 8 in the second. In the third year, theemployees will receive 5 paid absence days, the same as in each year ofthe prior agreement, which had a 2-year term. (In contrast, the new3-year UAW-GM contract continued to provide for 5 paid absence days peryear.) In exchange for the improved paid absence provision, the IUEagreed to offsetting changes in other provisions: the initial wageincrease (2.

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25 percent) was not retroactive to the September 14termination date of the prior agreement; 11 cents of the existingcost-of-living allowance was not rolled into base rates; 14 cents willbe diverted from future cost-to-living adjustments for the contractduration; and increased company payments into a training fund andestablishment of a legal services plan were deferred to 1987. The plants covered by the settlement are located in Ohio,Mississippi, New York, and New Jersey. One of the plants, a Packard Electric Division operation in Warren,OH, agreed to give members of Local 717 virtually lifetime job andincome guarantees in exchange for adoption of a two-tier compensationsystem. Under the system, the company is permitted to hire newemployees at 55 percent of current pay for their job and to give themless lucrative benefits. The pay for their job and to give them lesslucrative benefits.

The pay of these workers will rise gradually over10 years until it matches the regular rates. The contract, which will bein effect indefinitely, obligates the company to hire one new worker atthe plant for every three who leave through attrition.

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