Like the famous refrain set to music by the Rolling Stones, the desired outcomes of collective bargaining are often unpredictable.
This week kicks off with lots of news related to the UAW in the headlines including workers out of work on strike during Thanksgiving, and a pair of union contracts that were narrowly approved by hourly workers at GM and Ford. Food for thought for workers considering union representation, including those from Volkswagen who will be voting in early December.
Workers at Ford Motor Company narrowly approved a new labor agreement over the weekend, according to the UAW in a Fox News report.
51.3 percent of production workers and 52.4 percent of skilled trades workers voted in favor of the new contract, after more than a week of voting that concluded at U.S. operations of Ford on Friday night.
Meanwhile, the contract between General Motors and the UAW which had been delayed over concerns related to terms and conditions of the contract governing Skilled Trades workers has been also been narrowly approved. It appears as though ratification became possible after the company and union agreed to defer some bargaining issues into the grievance process.
“The General Motors Co. was notified on Nov. 20 that the agreement has been ratified,” wrote UAW Vice President CIndy Estrada in a letter to union leadership.
There will be grievances filed related to issues that led a majority of skilled trades workers to vote no, but that will not delay the contract any longer.
“It has been mutually agreed that appeal cases involving grievances filed on or after the effective date of the 2015 National Labor Agreement will carry the ‘CC’ designation for purposes of identification,” Estrada stated in the letter.
Members of Members of United Auto Workers Local 833 have been on strike a week and are walking picket lines in the snow moving into the holiday week. Kohler employees are striking over a multitude of issues including wages, increasing health care costs, and a two-tier wage scale.