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Wednesday, 26 August 2020 21:09

GM is Using Salaried Workers to Fill Holes at Pickup Plant---and UAW is Outraged

Written by Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press
General Motors added a third shift at its Wentzville (MO) Assembly Plant last September to build trucks and vans. General Motors added a third shift at its Wentzville (MO) Assembly Plant last September to build trucks and vans. Melissa Vaeth for General Motors

Index

General Motors is using salaried employees to help build pickups at its Wentzville Assembly plant near St. Louis due to high absenteeism amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The practice has the UAW outraged. The union has issued a warning to the automaker, accusing GM of violating a clause in the 2019 union contract by putting white-collar workers in union jobs.

 

The local union has filed grievances against GM, the union said.

 

“We strenuously object to GM doing this,” said Brian Rothenberg, spokesman for the UAW. 

 

GM said it has no choice if it is to rebuild inventory of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups made at Wentzville. GM also makes the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size vans at Wentzville. 

 

"We have had salaried employees working the line," said company spokesman Jim Cain "The team on the ground in Wentzville is trying to navigate a very difficult situation to keep the plant operating, while accommodating employees who are not showing up to work due to concern of COVID."

 

Wentzville runs three shifts with about 1,250 workers on each shift.

 

GM said it has struggled to staff all three shifts. In early July, GM told the Free Press that it would reduce its plant to two shifts starting July 20, killing the third overnight shift.

 

But it reversed course and kept the third shift, seeking to hire some 200 temporary workers to cover the absenteeism. Until it makes those hires, GM has been using volunteer salaried workers from different parts of the company to help out.


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