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UAW Arlington gets some jobs, layoff clarity, in GM contract

United Auto Workers at the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington averted a strike last week and agreed to new work rules that will add roughly 30 jobs, keep the plant’s fitness center open around the clock, and clarify how layoffs would occur.

Of the 500 union workers who voted, 55 percent agreed Friday to ratify changes to the local contract, said J.R. Flores, president of the UAW Local 276, which represents about 2,400 production workers at the Arlington plant.

Calls to management officials were not returned Monday.

“I think the majority of our employees are happy we have an agreement,” Flores said. “Nobody likes to strike...We’re glad to be in a position where we’ll be competitive and be able to bid successfully for another future product.”

Among the highlights of the four-year agreement:

  • 25 new apprentices added
  • About five jobs added to help cover sick time
  • Fitness center stays open 24 hours a day, instead of only during the first and second shifts
  • New rules make it easier for workers to transfer to different departments at the plant.
  • If layoffs occur, they will be based on seniority.
  • The international union leadership agreed to a broader contract with GM management in October, but local contracts nationally cover more specific issues.

    In April, local union leaders sent a letter to GM officials threatening to strike if an agreement wasn’t reached “soon.” One of the union local’s points of contention: the lengthy time it was taking for GM to settle employee grievances, Flores said.

    Management solved “nearly all” of the local issues by the time of the agreement last week, he said.

    The contract was hammered out early Wednesday, and by the end of the day, highlights of the deal were posted around the plant. The vote was taken Friday afternoon into Saturday morning.

    “It was close,” Flores said of the vote. “We kind of knew it would be just because people didn’t have a lot of time to review all the information.”

    DAVID WETHE, 817-390-7616

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