UAW sues GM over three plant closures, or "unallocations" | Michigan Radio

UAW sues GM over three plant closures, or "unallocations"

Feb 26, 2019

Chevrolet Volt team members Aretha Lee (left) and Patrick Sled at General Motor's Powertrain plant in Warren, Michigan. GM says it is ending production of the Volt and the plant's other products.
Credit Jeffrey Sauger / Chevrolet

The United Auto Workers union is suing General Motors over its decision late last year to "unallocate" three plants in the U.S., one of them the Warren Transmission Plant in Michigan.

"Unallocate" means, according to GM, ending production of the plants' current products while not assigning new ones.

The union says it's a code word for closing, which is prohibited under the current four year contract.

Harley Shaiken is a labor expert at the University of California Berkeley.

"As Shakespeare said, 'a rose by any other name,'" he says. "These these closures or projected closures are creating quite a bit of uncertainty and anger for auto workers directly impacted and for UAW workers more broadly."

General Motors, in a statement, says: 

"The announcements made by General Motors on November 26 do not violate the provisions of the UAW-GM National Agreement. We continue to work with the UAW on solutions to our business challenges."

Shaiken says the closures of the plants will be a source of tension during GM's contract talks for the next four year contract with the UAW, which start in a few months.