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UAW-GM tentative agreement: Detroit plant stays open, Lordstown and two others close

Detroit-Hamtramck will remain open, per this agreement, and it will likely build an electric pickup truck.

GM Lordstown plant final Chevy Cruze

The final Chevy Cruze built at Lordstown left the plant this past March.

General Motors

Following a Thursday morning meeting in Detroit, the United Auto Workers union's GM Council agreed to turn a proposed labor contract into a tentative agreement. However, after details of the tentative agreement were made public, it includes three large pills for workers to swallow.

The Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant will, under this agreement, close. Joining Lordstown will be the Baltimore and Warren Transmission plants. The UAW contract summary said "it is with sadness" that the negotiations didn't bear better news for the three plants, but the union negotiators were pleased with gains in other job security pillars. 

One of those pillars is the fact the Detroit-Hamtramck production plant will remain open and receive a new product allocation. It's likely this will be the electric pickup truck General Motors previously confirmed it presented during union negotiations. GM executives have also spoken of the automaker's intention to build an electric pickup.

Those affected by the official closure of the Lordstown, Baltimore and Warren plants will have several buy-out, relocation and early retirement options.

Although not a production facility, if ratified, this new labor agreement would also close the Fontana, California, parts distribution center. GM's website says 55 UAW workers staff the facility.

As reported previously, the tentative agreement preserves UAW-GM workers' healthcare with zero additional costs, and also provides a pathway for temporary employees to become full-time workers. Upon ratifying this contract, full-time workers will also receive an $11,000 ratification bonus. Temporary workers would receive a sum of $4,500. The $12,000 profit-sharing bonus cap is also gone, and instead, the UAW negotiated a zero-cap. Workers would receive $1,000 per every $1 billion GM makes in profit under the agreement.

While workers will certainly enjoy the enhanced economic benefits and preservation of healthcare benefits, the plant closures, in particular, have been a sticking point. Already, some Lordstown workers are vowing to vote this tentative agreement down and refuse to ratify anything as long as the plant is slated for closure. This agreement also does not make mention of a proposed battery cell manufacturing plant GM put on the table at the start of negotiations.

GM confirmed with Roadshow that battery cell production is on the table for the Mahoning Valley, where Lordstown is located. The automaker is still pursuing the sale of the complex to Lordstown Motors, the company that operates electric truck startup Workhorse. Battery cell production "would create approximately 1,000 manufacturing jobs," GM said, and added, "These two initiatives are not covered under the proposed tentative agreement reached between the parties."

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