The United Auto Workers (UAW) union sued General Motors on Thursday accusing the automaker of using temporary workers at the Fort Wayne, Indiana plant instead of bringing in laid-off workers from other plants.
According to UAW, the automaker’s use of temporary workers at the Indiana facility violates its labor deal. The union said GM should hire some of the approximately 700 laid-off hourly employees from Lordstown Assembly that have the right to transfer to factories with openings.
GM has already cut two shifts at the Ohio plant that will stop making the Chevy Cruze in March 2019. The civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Youngstown, Ohio claims that GM violates a memorandum of understanding with the UAW. The agreement allowed the carmaker to hire temporary employees from May 31, 2018, through August 31, 2018, to support the launch of the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks at the Fort Wayne Assembly Plant.
GM had until the end of November 2018 to replace temporary workers with union members
UAW maintains that GM continued the use of the workers even though the union denied a request to extend the temporary employment until the end of February 2019. Following a series of failed negotiations, the UAW gave GM until the end of November 2018 to replace the temps with union members — despite the fact that General Motors wanted an extension to May 2019.
The lawsuit says the automaker continues to use temporary workers in Fort Wayne although many of the 690 employees laid off in Lordstown have applied for jobs there. The UAW demands the court to order GM to stop using the temps at the Indiana plant and replace them with union members.
In a statement to WFMJ, a GM communications manager says the company has already started to bring employees from Lordstown Assembly to Fort Wayne. The representative said that “about 35 Lordstown UAW members will be in place by the end of January.” The spokesperson added GM has ongoing discussions with the UAW regarding its staffing needs in Fort Wayne but “no further comments on the lawsuit.”