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GM Workers Must Transfer or Lose Benefits

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On: Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 2:49PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


GM Workers Must Transfer or Lose Benefits

General Motors has announced that approximately 375 laid off workers must transfer to the Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio next month or they will lose all supplemental unemployment benefits. The recall of unemployed workers is part of the agreement the company made with the United Auto Workers that will pay union workers decreased wages in order to make building of small economy cars profitable in the United States.

The laid off workers had earned as much as $28 per hour before the Orion assembly plant in Detroit closed last year in November.

Orion will transfer workers to the Lordstown plant to build the Buick Verano compact vehicle, in addition to the Chevrolet Aveo. The plant is calling for 800 of the 1,175 workers who are laid off to return to work at full wages of $28 per hour, plus 400 entry-level workers who will do the same work for only $14 per hour. This information courtesy the United Auto Workers Local 5960.

According to Iraq war veteran Nick Waun (who was laid off at the Orion plant last November), if he doesn’t accept the offer to return to work soon, he will lose his unemployment benefits. Waun, who received his notice to return to work on October 13th, stated that it will be difficult for him to leave as he is enrolled at a local college in Michigan, but he also stated that he was in a better situation, as far as relocating, than many of his co-workers at the Orion plant.

Waun said, "the transfer on such short notice would cause dislocation and grief for many families—who will have to decide whether to move, split up, or decline the transfer and hope something will open at Orion Township at least a year in the future. This is going to tear families apart.”

Kim Carpenter, GM spokesperson, stated: “We are following the language in our labor agreement and moving people to where we have current manpower needs.”

Union local 5960 chairman Mike Dunn declined to comment.

When workers transfer to Lordstown, “They'll have no opportunity for recall to Orion until at least 2012, and they would have to go without unemployment and supplemental benefits for at least a year while they are waiting for a chance to be recalled,” according to a local 5960 spokesperson.

In the past United Auto Workers could receive full unemployment benefits indefinitely until a position was available within 50 miles of their plant, but now if autoworkers refuse a job in a multistate region they will lose their unemployment pay and benefits permanently.




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