UAW files lawsuit against GM over decision to idle car factories

February 28, 2019

The United Auto Workers union served General Motors a fresh lawsuit on Tuesday over its decision to idle four assembly plants in the U.S.

The UAW claimed in its lawsuit that GM breached its 2015 contract with the union by announcing that two car plants in Michigan and Ohio and a pair of transmission plants in Maryland and Michigan will be "unallocated" in 2019. The term means GM will not provide any new products for the plants to build after this year. In 2015, GM stated as part of its agreement with the UAW for a new labor contract that it would not "close, idle, nor partially or wholly sell, spin-off, split-off, consolidate or otherwise dispose of in any form" its facilities.

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However, the statement was followed with a failsafe for GM, Automotive News reported. The letter attached as part of the lawsuit further reads, "conditions may arise that are beyond the control of the company" that may make the commitment "impossible." GM specifically cited market-related sales volume declines as one factor that could cause the automaker to idle plants in the 2015 agreement. The plants GM plans to idle all build slow-selling passenger cars for the U.S. market, while those that build more popular crossover SUVs and pickup trucks in the U.S. are unaffected.

The Lordstown, Ohio, plant that builds the Chevrolet Cruze is is scheduled to stop building cars next month, while GM granted a brief extended production run at its Detroit plant that builds big Chevrolet, and Cadillac sedans. 

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UAW President Gary Jones and UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement on Tuesday that they will leave "no stone unturned" to protect their contractual rights. The current UAW labor agreement expires Sept. 14 and GM will need to successfully negotiate the four plant closures with the union.

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