GM, UAW deal to bring 1,700 jobs to Spring Hill


DETROIT (AP) – A new four-year contract deal between the United Auto Workers and General Motors Co. will add or keep 6,400 jobs in the U.S. with a $2.5 billion investment, the union said Tuesday.

Union leaders from around the country were briefed on the deal in Detroit in a morning meeting, and they voted to recommend that GM's 48,500 factory workers ratify it in voting that will take place in the next week.

The deal creates over 5,100 new jobs and keeps around 1,300 others.

The union said that under the deal, GM has agreed to create or keep the jobs and invest in its factories, including the reopening of an assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tenn.  Union-company teams also are identifying 760 more potential jobs and 1,400 more jobs for UAW-represented GM suppliers, officials said at a news conference.

The Spring Hill plant will make two midsize cars, according to a summary of the agreement released by the UAW.  The work originally was slated for Mexico, the union said.

GM will invest $61 million for one of the cars and add 600 jobs, while it will spend $358 million on the other car with 1,100 jobs created.

Other factories scheduled to get new work under the deal include:
– Wentzville, Mo.: Gets additional shift plus a midsize pickup truck. A $380 million investment and 1,850 new jobs.
– Warren, Mich.: Transmission plant near Detroit gets new transmission. A $325 million investment and 360 new jobs.
– Romulus, Mich.: Engine plant near Detroit gets $385 million investment and 285 jobs.
– Saginaw, Mich: Casting plant gets 255 jobs and $215 million investment.
– Fort Wayne, Ind.: Truck assembly plant gets next-generation pickups, with a $230 million investment and 150 jobs created or retained.

In addition, GM will build a new compact car at a factory that's yet to be determined.  It will create more than 500 jobs with a $150 million investment.

The summary of the deal said GM's assembly plant in Shreveport, La., will close as scheduled, while a plant in Janesville, Wis., will remain idled.

The agreement reached Friday includes a $5,000 signing bonus, but has no annual pay raises for most workers over the life of the contract.  However, in addition to the signing bonus, they'll get a minimum of $3,500 in profit-sharing next year and $250 per year for meeting quality targets, according to a summary of the deal.

Some of GM's 2,400 entry-level workers will get $3.50-per-hour pay raises, to $19.28 per hour.  Now they make from $14 to $16 per hour, about half the pay of a longtime UAW worker.

The union also said GM is offering payments for workers to retire early or leave the company
Eligible workers can get up to $10,000 bonuses if they retire within the next two years.  There's also a $65,000 bonus for skilled-trades workers like electricians and pipe-fitters if they retire or leave the company between November 1 and March 31.

With the incentives, GM is clearly trying to clear out older workers and cut its labor costs by hiring new workers at the entry-level wage.

UAW President Bob King said he hasn't decided if the union will start talks with Chrysler or Ford next.  He also would not talk about an angry letter sent last week by Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne accusing King of missing a meeting to sign a new deal.

Marchionne was on his way back to the U.S. from Europe on Tuesday and may take part in the talks.

General Motors Co. shares fell 41 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $22.64 in midday trading.

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