Parma Ohio GM Plant Readies For Potential Strike

By Bendygirl (aka Uniongal)

crossposted on Women, Unions and Our Stories

In Parma, Ohio, there's strike talk, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Our bargaining committees and shop chairmen have been actively seeking a new local agreement," said Tito Boneta, president of UAW Local 1005. "I don't really want to go through any of this . . . but you have to do what you have to do."
This is actually a local issue and the PD provides more detail than I've seen in ages in print on what's at stake between local and national contracts:
In November, the Parma local asked for strike permission from the UAW International in Detroit. At the time, the international was still working out details with GM on the implementation of the national contract reached last summer after a two-day strike.

National contracts handle big issues such as wages, job classifications and health-care coverage. Local contracts set work rules, staffing levels and shift issues.

The national contract spelled out a two-tier wage structure that will let GM pay new hires about half of what it pays current workers to perform "non-core" jobs. In November, Boneta said defining what was core and non-core was part of the problem in settling the local contract.

Those discussions ended this year with new guidelines for union locals, but Boneta said the guidelines haven't settled all of the issues.
Due to the local contracts that discuss the specifics of jobs and skills, we now have the potential of bigger issues to resolve. The new GM contract from the summer seems to have created greater issues for the locals in that they must now bargain on their own with GM in relation to what is considered "skilled" More from the Plain Dealer:
The bigger issue in November was skilled trades. At the time, Boneta said the company wanted to consolidate several job titles, eliminating positions for some of the plant's highest-paid workers.

Instead of having machine repair, millwright, tinsmith, pipe fitter and maintenance welder positions, GM asked for one position called maintenance, Boneta said in November.

Today, he declined to say what issues remained between the union and the company.

The loss of multiple skilled trades categories could mean demoting skilled tradesmen to the production line or cutting jobs.
I hope negotiations go well and that we aren't looking at another American Axle type strike. again, from the Plain Dealer:
Boneta said the UAW is sending John Mahon to Parma to help settle contract negotiations. Mahon is a regional UAW representative and a former union chairman of GM's Lordstown complex. If the union and the company can't reach an agreement within five days, the union will be able to issue a five-day strike warning.

If there is still no contract at the end of five more days, the union local will go on strike, Boneta said.

GM's Parma plant is a 1,400-job stamping and metal fabrication facility. A handful of those workers have already been idled in recent weeks because of a strike by GM supplier American Axle.
My fingers are crossed that American Axle and the UAW can hammer out an acceptable agreement this week and that GM and its Parma operations can find common ground to avert a strike. Strikes are a last resort. They are always a last resort. I'm hoping, it doesn't come to that.

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