Settlement reached in GM parts plants Essay

The International Union of Electronic Workers (IUE) announced
membership approval of a 3-year contract for 24,000 employees of nine
General Motors Corp. (GM) plants.

Terms were similar to those in GM’s settlment with the United
Auto Workers (see Monthly Labor Review, December 1984, pp. 46-49),
except that the IUE agreement provides for more paid time off, which the
union said was a high priority for the workers employed by GM’s
Delco, Packard Electric, and other parts plants. Under the IUE
agreement, the paid absence allowance was increased to 9 work days in
the first contract year and 8 in the second. In the third year, the
employees will receive 5 paid absence days, the same as in each year of
the prior agreement, which had a 2-year term. (In contrast, the new
3-year UAW-GM contract continued to provide for 5 paid absence days per
year.) In exchange for the improved paid absence provision, the IUE
agreed to offsetting changes in other provisions: the initial wage
increase (2.25 percent) was not retroactive to the September 14
termination date of the prior agreement; 11 cents of the existing
cost-of-living allowance was not rolled into base rates; 14 cents will
be diverted from future cost-to-living adjustments for the contract
duration; and increased company payments into a training fund and
establishment of a legal services plan were deferred to 1987.

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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 and
income guarantees in exchange for adoption of a two-tier compensation
system. Under the system, the company is permitted to hire new
employees at 55 percent of current pay for their job and to give them
less lucrative benefits. The pay for their job and to give them less
lucrative benefits. The pay of these workers will rise gradually over
10 years until it matches the regular rates. The contract, which will be
in effect indefinitely, obligates the company to hire one new worker at
the plant for every three who leave through attrition.


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