GM Union Workers Approve Strike Authorization

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Union workers at the General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant voted overwhelmingly to approve a strike authorization Friday morning. Union workers last week rejected the latest contract offer from GM.

Should Local 31 union workers strike, it would come at a crucial time, as production has begun on the Chevy Malibu, the company’s second best-selling car in 2010. A union representative said a strike to vote doesn’t necessarily mean a strike will occur, but the approved vote gives the union leverage in negotiations.

According to some of the workers who voted, the recently rejected contract addressed wage and seniority issues. The local contract typically deals with local plant rules and shift schedules.

“We’ve given up quite a bit already,” said one union worker. “We haven’t had a pay raise in over four or five years and now they’re fighting for our seniority and that’s about the only thing we’ve got left so we’re not willing to give that up.”

The plant in Kansas City, Kan., employees 3,400 hourly employees, of which 66 percent of production workers and 58 percent of skilled workers voted against the local contract on Friday.

Last year, GM workers approved a national contract with the company that covers wages and benefits.

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