UAW Challenges GM Plan to Idle Four U.S. Plants

The United Auto Workers is formally challenging General Motors Co.'s plans to idle four U.S. plants next year.

A week ago, GM said it would stagger production-stops at Detroit-Hamtramck, Lordstown, Ohio, Warren Transmission and Baltimore Operations — leaving the facilities "unallocated" at the height of the latest renegotiation of the national GM-UAW contract.

In its restructuring announcement last week, GM was careful to address the affected plants, using the term "unallocated" to indicate that the products currently built at these plants would stop production without anything to immediately replace them. The use of the word "unallocated" deliberately avoids the words "idle or "close," which are explicitly addressed in the 2015 agreement between GM and the UAW.

"Characterizing these plants as 'unallocated' — rather than closed or idled — does nothing to relieve the company of its obligation to comply with the Plant Closing Moratorium," the head of the UAW's GM department, Terry Dittes, wrote in a letter sent to GM's vice president of labor relations, Scott Sandefur, that was obtained by The Detroit News. "We expect the company to honor its commitments and we will use all of our resources to enforce our agreements."

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