UAW members at Wentzville GM plant vote down tentative agreement

UAW members at the GM plant in Wentzville have voted against the tentative agreement the union and GM recently reached.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 8:21 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2023 at 8:34 AM CST
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WENTZVILLE, Mo. (KMOV) - UAW members at the GM plant in Wentzville have voted against the tentative agreement the union and GM recently reached, First Alert 4 learned Wednesday.

According to a tally from UAW Local 2250, 1,637 UAW members in Wentzville voted ‘no;’ 1.421 voted in favor, meaning 53.5 percent of the UAW members at the plant voted to reject the contract. More than 54 percent of production workers voted against the deal, while a majority of skilled trades workers supported ratification. Eight ballots were voided. UAW had been on strike from the Big three American automakers (Ford, GM, and Stellanis). Tentative contracts with UAW and the automakers were announced in late October.

Workers at other plants have also rejected the contract UAW struck with the carmakers. Ford production workers in Louisville rejected the Ford-UAW contract and GM workers voted against the GM-UAW agreement. Both votes were close, with slightly more than 50 percent of workers voting no.

Workers initially asked for a 40% boost in pay, better pension and a 32-hour workweek. The tentative deal with GM includes 25% wage increases and the restoration of Cost of Living Adjustments, mirroring deals brokered with Ford and Stellantis.

Katie Deatherage, the president of UAW Local 2250, said she had supported approving the agreement. Other members, however, felt that the union could still gain better healthcare and retirement benefits.

“Members have been very vocal about what they wanted to see in the contract that weren’t there,” she said.

According to the UAW’s GM vote tracker, roughly 54 percent of local units nationwide have voted in favor of the contract. However, several large production sites have still not submitted votes for the contract. Deatherage said it’s possible those sites could join Wentzville in voting against it.

If the vote failed nationally, Deatherage said, the UAW and GM would likely return to negotiations. She said it would be unlikely, however, that workers would immediately be asked to return to the picket lines.

“It would be hard to go back out there, but we have members who will, if need be,” Deatherage said.

UAW Local 2250 last voted against a GM contract in 2007. That contract passed despite the opposition from Wentzville.

Michael Duff, a law professor at Saint Louis University with a background in labor negotiations, said he also expected the contract to be ratified nationally.

But he said the vote tallies could indicate a disconnect between national negotiators and rank-and-file members of the union.

“When you go around saying you have a historic agreement, there’s a portion of the bargaining unit that’s not thinking 10 years ago; they’re thinking 30 or 40 years ago because that’s how long we’ve been giving back,” he pointed out.