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GM and the UAW at odds over temps at key plant

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Nearly 150 temporary workers now hold permanent positions at the Fort Wayne General Motors Assembly, company officials told Fort Wayne's NBC News on Friday.

Others, however, will not be kept on.

The release of the local figure follows reports this week that more than 900 temporary workers company-wide had moved to full-time since the resolution of last year's strike.

The issue was a key component of bargaining, as the United Auto Workers union pressed to convert temporary employees into permanent ones.

The Fort Wayne Assembly -- in Roanoke -- employs more than 4,000 people.

The plant was idled for more than a month last fall.

While the new labor contract passed union-wide without much difficulty, the vote in Fort Wayne was nearly 50-50, with some union members unsatisfied by the commitment regarding the conversion of temporary workers.

GM on Friday said it offered to include additional temps in the full-time ranks.

A UAW Local 2209 update online this week indicated that "the temp letter for all temps will expire at midnight January 12th, 2020."

It noted that the union had been in "intense conversations with the company over a mountain of manpower issues," and said attempts to reach a mutual settlement on the number of temporary workers to become permanent had failed.

The Local 2209 report claims that the Jan. 12 deadline would mark the end of authorization for any temporary workers at the plant.

GM did not address that claim. The company issued the following statement regarding the Fort Wayne numbers:

General Motors converted 148 temporary employees on January 6. We are excited to welcome these employees as full-time team members at our plant. GM expects to bring on additional temporaries as full-time team members in the future.

We were willing to retain approximately 240 additional temporaries as part-time employees but unfortunately, we could not reach an agreement with the UAW. We appreciate the hard work of our employees and their contributions to GM.  We certainly wish them well in their future endeavors.

According to the Detroit Free Press, The local union said Sunday the number terminated is actually 228, but GM labor officials stand firm on 240, saying the local union disputes some numbers and the dialogue will continue during local negotiations.

GM Spokesman David Barnas told the Detroit Free Press the following:

"We are excited to welcome these team members as full-time team members at our Fort Wayne Assembly Plant... but unfortunately we could not reach an agreement with the UAW. We appreciate the hard work of our employees and their contributions to GM. We certainly wish them well in their future endeavors.”

GM spokesman David Barnas

Emilia Miles

Emilia Miles joined Fort Wayne’s NBC in September 2019 as a Social Media and Digital Content Manager. Emilia also serves as a producer. She’s a Fort Wayne native and graduated from Indiana University.

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