With an appetite to strike at the General Motors Bowling Green Corvette Assembly plant, UAW workers have compiled a list of demands from management they want settled sooner than later. As it stands, the plant is continuing their production schedule of Corvettes as of right now, after recovering from a fatal tornado that has damaged the facility. This comes at a time where the 2023 C8 Corvette Z06 is expected to begin production summer of this year, while the 2023 Corvette Stingray will begin production in the spring.
UAW local 2164 voted, in a vast majority on January 10th, to reject management’s offer and authorize a strike. However, even as the local branch looks to go on strike, there’s still an order of approval that must be processed. For an actual walkout to happen, both the UAW Region 8 and the International UAW must approve it. That hasn’t happened yet.
The list of demands comes from the UAW (United Auto Workers) Local 2164 union working at the GM Bowling Green Assembly plant involve higher pay and future job security. But these benefits and pay negotiations are usually reserved for the national sector of the UAW, and don’t go plant-by-plant, but rather automaker by automaker. Ford, GM and Stellantis all have separate UAW negotiations.
Per a Detroit Free Press article, chairman of local UAW 2164 Jason Watson says the list of demands they have made are “not unrealistic” in nature. The list of demands are as follows:
- To commit to using UAW members for contracted jobs such as 3D printing, maintenance work, and striping of cars, all currently done by outside companies.
- To commit to build future Corvettes, including a possible electric version, at Bowling Green.
- To commit to using Local 2164 skilled trade workers in the Performance Build Center, the department in the plant where GM makes performance motors for the Corvette Z06, the Cadillac Blackwing series for the CT4 and CT5 sports sedans, and performance Camaro muscle cars.
- To commit to a higher pay rate for certain job classifications in the plant that require additional knowledge and skill to perform.
During the 2019 UAW strike, General Motors has said its average hourly worker earns around $90,000 USD in wages, overtime and profit sharing. But according to the UAW – troubled with corruption – the only workers who can reach that level are skilled trades, about 15% of the workforce, while second-tier and temp workers earn much less.
Negotiations at the Bowling Green Assembly plant are underway now and should an agreement be made, it will only be valid through September of next year. Viewing the production of the Z06 as presumed leverage, it will be interesting to find out what happens next. No timeline has been given on the next steps.