Local General Motors workers pressure GM about future work

Local General Motors workers pressure GM about future work

 

Matthew Daneman • Staff writer • May 7, 2010

 

Facing pressure from General Motors Co. to agree to sizable pay cuts, Rochester autoworkers are turning to political allies in Washington to put their own pressure on GM.

 

Both Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., this week have called or written Ed Whitacre, chief executive of GM, asking for pledges that the company’s Lexington Avenue plant will stay open.

United Auto Workers Local 1097 President Dan Maloney said GM has threatened to shut off the spigot of work at the factory, as well as at other GM locations, including the Tonawanda engine plant in Erie County, unless workers agree to pay cuts and to forgo a 2010 cost-of-living raise.

Local 1097 represents 650 hourly workers at the Lexington Avenue plant, which makes fuel systems and emission controls. GM bought the factory in northwest Rochester in October from Delphi Corp.

"We are still in discussions with the UAW and beyond that we do not have any further comment," GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter said Thursday.

 

The Rochester hourly workers have yet to see a cost-of-living increase that was to have taken effect in January, Maloney said. GM, meanwhile, wants to reopen negotiations on the current contract, which expires in fall 2011, for a rollback in pay, he said.

Manufacturing workers at the Rochester plant make, on average, $16 to $17 an hour and are being asked to accept about $12 an hour, Maloney said. Without such concessions, GM is threatening to "wind down" work at the plant by placing no new orders there, the UAW leader said.

The workers likely won’t agree to concessions, in part because managers and supervisors received raises and bonuses this year and hourly workers took a pay cut of roughly 40 percent in 2007 to help Delphi, said Maloney.

GM, he said, "has broken any sense of trust in shared sacrifice."

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