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‘Big fight’ expected as GM suit heads to court



Published: Mon, January 30, 2012 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Karl Henkel

khenkel@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Twenty-eight General Motors Lordstown workers will begin court proceedings Wednesday stemming from an April 30 lawsuit.

The workers, represented by Atty. Ken Myers of Cleveland, allege that GM violated the collective-bargaining agreement, resulting in loss of pay and seniority, and the United Auto Workers violated its duty to fairly represent its members.

GM’s lawyers declined to comment on the case.

A case-management conference will take place at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Thomas D. Lambros Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse here.

Case-management conferences occur at the beginning of court cases; both parties meet with Judge Benita Y. Pearson. Dates and times will then be scheduled for future proceedings.

The suit says GM first violated the collective-bargaining agreement when it extended the workers’ temporary status, which began in 2006, without proper approval.

The 28 employees were fired in April 2007, then rehired seven months later as permanent employees with seniority, the suit says.

But in June 2008, the suit says, they were forced to recategorize by GM as temporary employees or be fired immediately, all while taking pay cuts of more than 40 percent.

Myers said the plaintiffs’ pay would increase when GM hired a third shift, which it did last year.

Just days later, the union and GM entered an agreement called Special Employee Hiring Opportunities. Former Delphi employees could be hired, and according to the suit, this violated the contract because they made more money than the plaintiffs.

The union did not investigate, the plaintiffs did not receive pay raises when GM hired a third shift, and the union refused to file grievances, the suit says.

The 28 workers are seeking back pay and permanent positions with proper pay and benefits. Myers said all 28, to his knowledge, still work at the Lordstown plant.

“I expect a big fight, and we’re going to handle it,” Myers said. “I’m confident in the case, and I’m looking forward to getting to the process.”


Comments

1casper77(136 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

How many of us were hired and let go 89 days later ,not once but several times ,for years.

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2stewie(108 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

These people will lose this case, this has been common practice for as long as I can remember. Your hired as temps, you are told this from the beginning.
As a temp you acquire no seniority. You have very limited union representation as a temp. It's up to the company to decide if they want to make you permanent. And even then you go through a 90 day probationary period. They had it explained to them from the get go. Now they want to change the rules in a game where they have no say so. Good luck with that.

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3commoncitizen(949 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like a good scam that the local union and GM have going for them. Let the people work 89 days and then let them go, then start all over again. I wonder if they did this with people that had "connections" at the plant, where they let go also? How does anyone get hired full time under this system?

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4stewie(108 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Common citizen, they have always done this, for good reason. You would not believe how many new hires would just not come to work,some refused to do their job, some would just quit after a day or even a few hours. Some were just not cut out for this type of work.
A lot would quit when they found out they actually had to work to get a paycheck. This is G.M.'S way of weeding out the loads. Yes they did this to people with so called connections. A lot of them were the worst, and yes they got rid of them also. You can't expect the union to support someone that has a bad work ethic, This is a handful of sour grapes who by the way are now full time, all 28 of them. T hey need to go back and read the company & union guidelines. They don't have a case.

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5stewie(108 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Hey red eye, they protect the people who want to work! Not the loads who expect to sit on their butts and not show up for work. Tells me you were never part of a union, until you know what your talking about you ought to keep your opinions to yourself.
You sound just like an anti union republican. Let me guess, you applied for a job there and didn't get it.

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6Purecountry495(2 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

I am sure glad that these 28 people stood up for their rights. The local union in the fab plant knew it was wrong, but did nothing. They tried to justify not making these people whole by what happened in November, 2008. Which was not inline with the national agreement. When the older people retired in May thru July 1, 2008, all the new hires was to move up in status and to full wage scale. The local unions did nothing, the same as the International Union did. There was some new hires made permanent in June,2008, but never given the the full pay scale under the national agreement. Because of this some of those people quit, and went elsewhere for a job. Those people should also be included in this case. I tried to tell the local union officials that these people was getting screwed over under the national agreement. All they wanted to do is refer to what happened under the concessions agreement that was accepted in November, 2008. Most of those new hire made permanent should have been made whole by Sept. 1, 2008.

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7redgpgtp(37 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

89 days and layoff is how it's supposed to go. Other than that, it's bulls**t. They claim they make these decisions in order to fullfill slots vacated by people vacationing, on sick leave , and so forth, then they work these people over 90 days, and of course they say, "It's good for the union and GM ." No joke but the question is, is it fair? Something the UAW is always questioning when management wants to eliminate or make changes to jobs on the line which will affect employees. And new hires coming to work, look at all the people wiith senority that take unnecessary sick leaves and refuse to do jobs and so forth because they know they can't get fired. Then they make a deal to hire folks at half the payrate alienating workers just for the sake of jobs and membership. That can be debateable too in todays economy when everyones looking for a decent job but I didn't see no concessions in pay for them when the company went bankrupt. Yes they lost a few things big deal. I hope these folks win if they were truly screwed by them!!!

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8hankchanaski(29 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

These people were hired as SUMMER HELP, not permanent employees. They were hired as temps, got laid-off, then got called back and offered full time permanent positions. During the time they were off, gm (the union agreed) implemented a tier2 wage/benefits category. So when they got called back, for a permanent employment, their wage was lower. They dont have a leg to stand on with this issue. The fight they should make, is with touching the vehicle in the assembly process. Per the contract, all tier2 should be doing off line production, ie, tow motor, sub assembly sweeping, ect. But when the people with 25-30 years(they had these jobs) in heard this, they went ballistic, and said they arent giving up these jobs, and the high ups in the union, sided with the 25-30 year people.

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9Purecountry495(2 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

There is a big difference between the car plant and the fab plant. It was common practice in the car plant to extend temp. employees. That was never the case up untill 2008 in the fab plant. When the car plant took control of the whole complex everything changed. If the local union in the car plant accepted something, it was expected the fab plant to follow suit. The biggest problem both local unions have, is having people inexperinced in the union process. People there have a tendency to vote and support someone, because they like them or are popular. They more times never made a committee call against management, but gave their opinion what they thought was right. In most cases what they thought was not in line with the contract language. So they run for election and get elected, not knowing anything about the union contracts. They make decisions based on what they feel or think is right. Instead of voting for someone that will and can do do the job, they go by popularity. In my years at GM there was friends that ran for office, that I could not support because I knew they couldn't and wouldn't do the job. If my job is on the line, I want someone representing me that knows the agreements and know the negotiating process. When the older people retired, that knew GM and how they did things, the new people was left to GM's mercy. I know quite a few officers in the local union at the fab plant, and I sure would not want them defending me in Labor Relations. I hope these 28 people win their case, and get what is do them. Maybe next election people will look at what kind of person is running to represent them and if they know the agreements.

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10hankchanaski(29 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

@country..I agree. I just think they should be using the tier2 shouldnt touch the car argument. You and i both know, that when you are a temp, you are at the mercy of management. It stinks, but you know that going in. Tier2 people werent supposed to touch the car during the assembly process, senior people werent about to give those jobs up, and now you have this situation.

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11commoncitizen(949 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Stewie, I was a union worker (not at GM) and I saw first hand WHO the uniouns helped---the ones that didn't do their jobs, came to work late(if at all) and the unions defended them, so ,the rest of us had to do our work AND back these lazy no goods!!!

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12hankchanaski(29 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

You are not going to be employed at gm for long if you dont show up.This whole notion that people arent doing work, or are hanging out all day, is disingenuous. This idea, is perpetuated by people who have never seen the inside of gm lordstown.

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