The UAW said it wants more temps permanently hired.
"UAW members sacrificed during our 40-day strike to create a defined path for temporary workers to seniority members in the 2019 National Agreement," Terry Dittes, UAW vice president General Motors, told the Free Press in an email. "We remain in conversations with General Motors at several locations where we believe additional members should be moved to seniority status under the agreement."
This move is a good start, said Dittes, but the union will be "vigilant to make sure that all hardworking temporary employees see their advancement to seniority status."
About 50 temps at GM's Marion Metal Center in Indiana were let go recently when the pickup program they were hired to work on ended. GM said it warned the workers in early December that they would be released because the production of previous-generation pickup parts ended the week of Dec. 8. GM warned the employees of the production timeline last January, and it has repeated that regularly, a GM spokesman said.
There are the newly hired temps, too, who have a long way to go to reach the three-year seniority mark. They also face contract pitfalls such as being laid off for too long, thereby derailing whatever seniority they've accrued.
Mat Bard is a temporary worker at Flint Assembly, where he's worked since May 29. Bard is one of those temps who faces a long path to permanency. He said he will "hang in there," but laments, "I don't think anything is going to change real soon for me. My chances of being hired are pretty low."
More to come
GM confirmed that it made more than 900 GM temporary hourly employees regular full-time employees and said there will be more hiring at more locations and additional opportunities to attain permanent full-time status later this year.
GM declined to provide a breakdown of how many temps were converted to permanent at each facility, but a person familiar with GM's hiring process confirmed it did include Flint Assembly and Lansing Delta Township.
"These are great, experienced employees," said David Barnas, GM spokesman. "Their transition to full-time regular status will help create more engaged and motivated teams in our plants, which is foundational to improving job satisfaction, health and safety, and the quality of our products for our customers."