LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Negotiations between General Motors and the United Auto Workers got underway Tuesday in Detroit, but day one was mostly handshakes and photo ops.
The real negotiating on wages, healthcare, job security and the future of the GM Lordstown plant will likely begin on Wednesday.
The contract expires Sept. 14.
On Tuesday, two busloads of mostly laid-off GM Lordstown workers arrived home around 3:15 p.m. after spending the morning rallying in Detroit on the first day of contract negotiations.
“We want to survive. We’ve done everything right. We’ve done the things GM’s asked us to do, and for them to come in Nov. 26 and just pull the plug on us just wasn’t right,” said Dan Morgan, UAW Local 1112 shop chairman.
While in Detroit, the Lordstown workers rallied, letting anyone who would listen know that they want a vehicle allocated to their plant.
When they first arrived, they were personally greeted by the UAW negotiators, who told the Lordstown workers they have their backs.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in the 19 years I’ve been doing bargaining, to have them come out and be on the sidewalk with us for a while,” Morgan said.
They then took the rally inside, giving high fives and encouragement to the negotiating team as they headed to the negotiating room, where UAW President Gary Jones and GM CEO Mary Barra shook hands and smiled for the cameras.
“I look forward to having productive discussions during the next several weeks about how we, as GM and UAW leaders, will build a stronger future,” Barra said.
“Just as the UAW workers have been there for GM, our UAW bargaining team is charged with making sure that GM will be there for the workers,” Jones said.
Lordstown workers did not make the trip alone. They were joined by a few UAW members from a GM transmission plant in Baltimore, which was also closed.
“We’re in the same boat that Lordstown’s in. They took our product, we want to get work,” said Guy White, UAW Local 239 Baltimore.
“I’m confident in our leadership that they will fight as hard as they possibly can to get product back in this country or get a new car put back in that plant,” Morgan said.
Congressman Tim Ryan released the following statement on Tuesday about the contract negotiations.
“I stand with the each and every UAW member fighting for their rights as they start contract negotiations with GM today. These men and women traveled from Lordstown and other cities across the nation to make their voices heard. They have dedicated their entire lives building GM’s award-winning cars and they deserved better. I urge GM to negotiate in good faith and put the priorities of their workers first.”