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Published: Saturday, 9/15/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Local UAW working to reach pact

Toledo Assembly without agreement since November, 2011

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

United Auto Workers officials at Chrysler Group LLC’s Toledo Assembly complex say they’re working to finalize a local contract for their plant to replace the last agreement that expired nearly a year ago.

Union leadership had set an informational meeting Sept. 7 for a proposed agreement but canceled the meeting — and a vote expected to follow — before that happened. Friday, Dan Henneman, Jeep unit chairman for UAW Local 12, said a few things need to be addressed before a vote could be scheduled. “We just need to get everybody on the same page,” he said.

He said he couldn’t elaborate on what issues led to the postponement of the meeting and vote.

The last local agreement expired in November, 2011, although employees have continued to work under those provisions.

“It’s not uncommon to be a year later and not have a local agreement,” said Kristin Dziczek, director of the labor and industry group at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. “Often these local issues are very detailed things about resolving past grievances that can be really tough to work through.”

In August, the union membership at Chrysler’s engine plant in Dundee overwhelmingly rejected a local agreement. At that time, union officials in Dundee said they were caught off guard by the vote but that work would continue as usual.

Tom Zimmerman, plant chairman for Local 723, which represents the Dundee plant, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Mr. Henneman said he did not know what concerns sidelined Dundee's contract, and the delay in Toledo wasn’t related to that vote. “Ours didn’t get voted down,” Mr. Henneman said. “We just delayed the day to have the informational meeting and have the vote.”

Both plants — and all Chrysler UAW employees — are covered under a four-year 2011 national pact that sets wages and benefits. Local agreements cover plant-specific rules.

“What the local agreements will do is handle work rules, hours of work, they settle any grievances that may be handled there,” Ms. Dziczek said. “It’s more operational and not economic.”

Mr. Henneman said he didn't know when a vote might be scheduled.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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