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UAW sues GM over use of temps at Indiana plant

General Motors

The United Auto Workers is suing General Motors in federal district court, claiming the automaker is breaching its labor contract by using temporary workers to block plant transfers.  

The UAW says there are nearly 700 workers laid off from the Lordstown, Ohio Assembly Plant, and many have applied to transfer to the Fort Wayne, Indiana Assembly Plant, as is their right under the contract with GM. 

But the union's lawsuit claims GM is preventing those transfers by filling vacant jobs with temporary workers at Fort Wayne. 

General Motors responded to a request for comment with this statement:

Late last year, GM started the process to bring about 50 Lordstown employees to Ft. Wayne to fill some of the positions that had been covered by temporary employees. In fact, about 35 Lordstown UAW members will be in place by the end of January. We have ongoing discussions with the UAW regarding our staffing needs in Ft. Wayne, but have no further comments on the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, there is likely to be more demand for transfers among union factory workers at GM, after the automaker announced in December it would be shuttering its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, as well as its Lordstown plant.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.