The C8 Corvette is one heck of a performance machine – but it just might be cursed. You may recall that, back in 2019, C8 production was delayed by a national United Auto Workers Union strike that lasted an agonizing six weeks. Just a couple of months later, Covid was detected in the US for the first time, leading to a nationwide shuttering of factories everywhere. With Covid came supply-chain difficulties, and to top it all off, last December, a lethal tornado rocked western Kentucky, killing dozens and damaging GM’s Bowling Green Assembly plant, where the Chevrolet Corvette is exclusively built.
Now, to top it all off, the members of UAW Local 2164 in Bowling Green, Kentucky are considering a strike if plant management is unable to address their most pressing concerns.
What’s The Matter In Kentucky?
Since 2019, UAW Local 2164 workers have been operating without a local contract, but the vast majority feel there are issues relating to opportunities and working conditions that aren’t being addressed. Plant management attempted to address them in a recent local contract proposal that was voted on last week, but Local 2164’s response was a decisive “no.” According to Bowling Green Daily News, a staggering 98 percent of hourly workers and 97 percent of skilled trades workers at the plant voted against the deal.
At the top of the list for the Corvette builders at Bowling Green Assembly are concerns over sanitation and health and safety at the plant, and a demand that GM use UAW workers wherever possible on a number of tasks that are commonly handed to outside contractors, such as 3D printing, striping, and maintenance work. That’s a big sticking point for Local 2164 President Brian Ferrett, and the union requested language in the local contract assuring “future products and investments” at the plant.
“We always request a guarantee, but it’s not there yet,” Ferrett says. “Over the last 20 years all GM has pushed for and achieved in most cases is for a third party to do our work at a lower wage.”
As far as what this means for Corvette production, the answer is nothing – yet. UAW Local 2164 membership has voted in favor of a strike authorization, but in order for a strike to happen, that would have to be approved by leadership at the regional and then national levels. So for now, C8 Corvette production will continue uninterrupted by labor disputes, and UAW Local 2164 will continue to gather member concerns and negotiate with plant management.