Another great win emerges from autoworkers and industry collaboration. General Motors Co. (GM) will invest more than $1.3 billion to upgrade and expand five manufacturing plants in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana that also will create or retain more than 1,000 jobs, GM and the UAWannounced Monday.
UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who represents GM workers, calls the investments a “win for American workers.” He says:
The UAW is proud to be a part of this successful collaboration with GM that has helped rebuild the nation’s economy, created good paying, union jobs in communities across the country and brought manufacturing that was moved overseas back to the United States. This is further proof that collective bargaining works.
In 2011, when the UAW negotiated new contracts with the Big Three automakers, the union won commitments from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler to invest more than $27.3 billion in their plants, creating 20,000 new jobs at the three automakers and thousands more in the industries that are part of the auto manufacturing supply chain.
At the ceremony at GM’s Flint, Mich., truck assembly plant announcing the investment, GM North America President Mark Reuss told the cheering workers:
These investments are a sign of our confidence in our workforce and our UAW partners that have given and tried so hard and in our vehicles and the continued demand for excellence in each one of these products. You earned this.
Since the auto industry was on the verge of collapse during the Bush recession, car makers and the UAW have worked closely in forging a partnership that was instrumental in securing the financing in 2008 and 2009 that kept the industry alive. Working together not only kept the auto industry afloat and saved tens of thousands of jobs, the negotiated investments like Monday’s GM announcement have opened the doors to good middle-class jobs.
Ashton notes that while income disparity grows in the country and the middle class declines, collective bargaining has created a ladder to the middle class for millions of America’s workers.
This announcement today is further proof that collaboration and collective bargaining works and will continue to be the way that we rebuild America’s middle class.
At the Flint ceremony, Barry Campbell, chairman of UAW Local 598, said he was “proud to pay my union dues, and this is just a great example why.”
GM’s nearly $1.3 billion investment includes:
- $600 million in Flint Assembly for facility upgrades.
- $493.4 million in Romulus (Mich.) Powertrain Operations.
- $121 million in Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly for a logistics optimization center.
- $30.6 million in Toledo Transmission Operations for increased capacity for an existing six-speed transmission.
- $29.2 million in Bedford (Ind.) Castings, which includes $22.6 million to produce components for transmissions.
For more on the success of the labor-management partnerships in the auto industry, read Labor Secretary Thomas Perez’s recent article on the UAW and Ford working together. Perez says that is just one example of how:
Across the country, creative labor-management partnerships are saving and creating jobs, keeping businesses competitive, growing the middle class and helping more Americans climb ladders of opportunity.