Rochester UAW union members nervous about GM contract


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — More than 800 striking local United Auto Workers are facing a big decision. They are voting on a tentative agreement reached by the union leaders and officials from General Motors.

Even if they give the OK many workers tell News 8 they are nervous about their future.

Today for the first time United Auto Workers learned the details of the proposal. For more than a month union members have been asking for higher pay, job security, a bigger share of the profits, and better healthcare.

“There is a pretty big signing bonus, said Dan Maloney, president of the UAW Local 1097. “But there is not guaranteed work for our facility. No product gurantees for Rochester.”

Maloney says without the guarantee, workers could lose their jobs.

“General Motors Corporation said last August there was no future product for Rochester,” said Maloney. “We will build out what we have now and in 2022 or 2023 we would be closed.”

Teresa Lewandowski, a union member, says if the plan closes she isn’t sure about her future plans.

“Hopefully it will be long enough for me to retire in two years with no guarantee of work,” said Lewandowski. “I don’t know if that’s going to happen.”

Darrel Pitman, the financial secretary UAW Local 1097, believes the closing of the Rochester plant will affect more than just the workers.

“To lose jobs in this area would be a devastating trickle affect, said Pitman. “Because for every job we have we support seven others in the community.”

While the union’s National Council approved the tentative agreement UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said this about local votes:

“Ultimately, UAW members will make the decision to ratify the agreement. Their unity and solidarity brought us to this moment.”

So far union member in Tennessee voted down the contract. But locals in Ohio approved the deal.

Also we haven’t heard from General Motors about the Rochester plant closing.

Voting wraps up on Friday with the final tally being released later that evening.

Update: According to President Dan Maloney UAW Local 1097 members at the GM plant in Rochester voted down the contract.

“We are proud of the membership for sending a strong no vote,” said Maloney in a text. “The message is for our union negotiating team to go back to the table and get Rochester product and job commitments from GM.”

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