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New GM tightens clamp on worker absenteeism

Published: Sat, August 8, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.

By William K. Alcorn

Ninety-eight percent of employees come to work every day, union leader says.

LORDSTOWN — General Motors union employees are subject to much stricter absenteeism rules, violation of which could end up in termination.

According to a new memorandum of understanding between GM and the United Auto Workers obtained by The Vindicator, violation of the policy can range from a written warning for the first violation to termination of employment after the sixth infraction.

“There are changes. The policy is a lot stricter than the 2007 agreement,” said Jim Graham, president of UAW Local 1112, which represents employees at the assembly plant.

Ninety-eight percent of the employees come to work every day. It’s the other 2 percent that the policy addresses, he said.

The biggest changes are that employees must report off no less than 30 minutes before their shift begins, and the termination language, said Dave Green, president of UAW 1714, which represents employees in the fabrication plant.

Previously, employees could not come to work and then take a personal day or other leave after the fact. That is no longer possible, Green said.

“We have good jobs, and we know that. We want our people to come to work. The union’s position is that we expect our people to go to work,” Green said.

According to the memorandum, all instances of employee absences, except ... Contractually acceptable reasons for missing work, are subject to the new Special Procedure for Attendance.

What the agreement calls Attendance Improvement Steps for violating absenteeism rules are:

U First offense, written warning;

U Second offense, second warning;

U Third offense, referral to the Employee Assistance Program and balance of shift and one week unpaid time off;

U Fourth offense, balance of shift plus two weeks unpaid time off;

U Fifth offense, balance of shift plus 30 days unpaid time off;

U Sixth offense, termination.


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