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Flint Truck Assembly deal calls for four 10-hour day work weeks, changes in overtime

Flint Truck Assembly deal calls for four 10-hour day work weeks, changes in overtime

by David Harris | The Flint Journal

Sunday March 15, 2009, 6:01 PM

FLINT, Michigan — Workers at the Flint Truck Assembly Plant on Sunday got details of a new local contract hammered out between General Motors and the UAW, a deal that calls for work weeks of four, 10-hour days and stipulates workers will not receive overtime pay until they exceed 40 hours.

About 1,000 workers gathered on Sunday to hear about the new contract the UAW and GM reached to last week.

Many workers were pleased with the deal.

"It’s a blessing," said Mike Bishop, 54, of Swartz Creek.

Workers will receive the contract in writing on Tuesday, and are expected to vote on it as early as Thursday. Local 598 Shop Chairman Mark Hawkins said he believed the contract would be "overwhelmingly" approved.

"I’m happy (with the contract)," said Hawkins. "We saved the livelihoods of the 2,000 people within the plant, as well as the 1,000 suppliers we have."

Hawkins said he was especially pleased because there are no layoffs. He said GM asked to outsource some of the skilled worker positions because it felt the company would be more competitive.

"We convinced them that we would be as competitive or more competitive with our workers," he said.

Flint Truck is the area’s largest GM plant, employing 2,205 as of the end of January, including 2,010 hourly workers. GM gave workers an ultimatum last month, saying if it did not come up with a contract it risked closing.

Another part of the contract calls for workers on the assembly line to work more than one job. Workers will be put into a group of six, and they were rotate to different jobs each day.

Hawkins said this makes for a more diverse workforce.

"We will have a more engaged workforce," he said. "Everybody knows each other’s job."

GM spokesperson Tony Sapienza declined to comment on the contract.

If the contract is ratified on Thursday, it will go into affect March 23.

"It’s better than we expected," said worker Don Couch, 54, of Gaines Township. "We get to keep our jobs. I’m relieved."

Worker Jim Carmody of Owosso said he wasn’t sure what to expect because of the poor economy. He was pleased with the deal, yet remains wary.

"Anything can change," he said. "It’s an economic tidal wave."

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