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Rank-and-file Lake Orion workers organize opposition to GM-UAW deal to hire low wage subcontract labor
2 June 2018
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A movement is building among rank-and-file workers at the General Motors Lake Orion assembly plant in the north suburbs of Detroit against an agreement signed by the United Auto Workers to hire lower paid contract workers from GM Subsystems LLC. The agreement involves replacing some 150 regular GM employees in the materials department who earn full pay and benefits.
Workers at GM Subsystems LLC, a wholly owned GM subsidiary, start at just $15 an hour, about half of the pay for senior, tier-one workers. Earlier this year, UAW Vice President for General Motors Cindy Estrada, with the support of the leadership of UAW Local 5960 at the Lake Orion plant, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) bringing in the subcontract workers. In typical fashion, the UAW claimed the deal was necessary to preserve jobs.
The UAW signed a similar MOU covering the Lordstown, Ohio, plant. The agreement at Lordstown was particularly provocative given that it became public in the wake of the announced layoff of the second shift at the factory, imperiling some 1,500 jobs.
The Lake Orion plant is being prepared to build and test autonomous vehicles. The facility currently employs around 1,000 workers who build the Chevrolet Sonic. Many workers feel that their facility may be next for layoffs given slowing car sales.
GM is seeking to reassure investors that it will impose further cost cutting measures with the collaboration of the UAW.
Last month, Lake Orion workers confronted Local 5960 officials at a packed…