Stories Conflict Over Nexteer Worker Layoffs 6-18-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Stories Conflict Over Nexteer Worker Layoffs 6-18-2010

Workers at Nexteer Automotive said some of their colleagues have walked out of the Buena Vista Township plant with pink slips in their hands, but parent company General Motors said no layoffs have taken place.
A source inside the plant said those affected were partial skilled trade and temporary workers.
Kim Carpenter, a GM spokeswoman, told TV5 she had just talked with Nexteer management and no layoffs are taking place.
Union officials were telling a different story, stating that not only did the layoffs occur, they happened so fast they're not sure how many people were let go.
The move comes just hours after a new Nexteer contract was voted down by a 73 to 27 percent margin.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” said one worker. “After a vote as important as this, you have to realize there’s probably going to be some consequences involved.”
UAW Members Sound Off On Nexteer Contract Vote
Under that contract, workers would have been forced to take up to an $8 per hour pay cut and loose some benefits.
But union officials said the new contract would have guaranteed work at the plant for at least the next five years, plus it would have added as many as 500 full-time jobs.
Perhaps most importantly, it would have guaranteed a say on who the plant can be sold to.
“Time will only tell where we’ll go from here,” said Jeff Becker, another Nexteer-UAW worker. “Nexteer has other sites across the globe that are more competitive than the Saginaw site, and this would have brought a lot of work to Saginaw and the community.”
Some workers told TV5 Friday they are worried about the possibility of future jobs being lost.
“I’m disappointed it didn’t pass,” said Edwina Milka, a Nexteer-UAW worker. “We needed the work here and without this contact, I think we’re not going to get it.”
A meeting has been scheduled for Monday morning between union and Nexteer management.
UAW Local 699 officials said they'll wait until September of 2011, when the current contract expires, to negotiate a new one.
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