The UAW is livid at GM’s actions at one of its pickup plants.
“General Motors is using salaried employees to help build pickups at its Wentzville Assembly plant near St. Louis due to high absenteeism amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The practice has the UAW outraged. The union has issued a warning to the automaker, accusing GM of violating a clause in the 2019 union contract by putting white-collar workers in union jobs.
The local union has filed grievances against GM, the union said . . .
GM said it has no choice if it is to rebuild inventory of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups made at Wentzville. GM also makes the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size vans at Wentzville.
‘We have had salaried employees working the line,’ said company spokesman Jim Cain ‘The team on the ground in Wentzville is trying to navigate a very difficult situation to keep the plant operating, while accommodating employees who are not showing up to work due to concern of COVID.’
Wentzville runs three shifts with about 1,250 workers on each shift.
GM said it has struggled to staff all three shifts. In early July, GM told the Free Press that it would reduce its plant to two shifts starting July 20, killing the third overnight shift.
But it reversed course and kept the third shift, seeking to hire some 200 temporary workers to cover the absenteeism. Until it makes those hires, GM has been using volunteer salaried workers from different parts of the company to help out.
The number of salaried workers on the assembly line has varied by week. Some come from nearby GM facilities and some are from Detroit, Cain said. They mostly work the third shift and, depending on the week, it’s been ‘a few dozen, but it’s also been higher,’ Cain said, adding, ‘We’re working very hard on a more permanent and stable solution.’
The UAW isn’t buying it. ‘The UAW believes it’s in violation to the recent contract,” [UAW spokesman Brian] Rothenberg said. ‘Paragraph 215 of the contract forbids this.’
Paragraph 215 in the contract reads in part: ‘Supervisory employees shall not be permitted to perform work on any hourly-rated job except in the following types of situations: (1) in emergencies arising out of unforeseen circumstances which call for immediate action to avoid interruption of operations; (2) in the instruction or training of employees, including demonstrating the proper method to accomplish the task assigned.'”
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