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UAW sues GM over three plant closures, or "unallocations"

Jeffrey Sauger

The United Auto Workers union is suing General Motors over its decision late last year to "unallocate" three plants in the U.S., one of them the Warren Transmission Plant in Michigan.

"Unallocate" means, according to GM, ending production of the plants' current products while not assigning new ones.

The union says it's a code word for closing, which is prohibited under the current four year contract.

Harley Shaiken is a labor expert at the University of California Berkeley.

"As Shakespeare said, 'a rose by any other name,'" he says. "These these closures or projected closures are creating quite a bit of uncertainty and anger for auto workers directly impacted and for UAW workers more broadly."

General Motors, in a statement, says: 

"The announcements made by General Motors on November 26 do not violate the provisions of the UAW-GM National Agreement. We continue to work with the UAW on solutions to our business challenges."

Shaiken says the closures of the plants will be a source of tension during GM's contract talks for the next four year contract with the UAW, which start in a few months.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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