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DETROIT – The UAW and General Motors opened 2011 contract talks Wednesday together on the factory floor at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, replacing the traditional formal handshake with a crowd of plant workers and the GM cars they build.
UAW and GM negotiating teams will conduct contract talks at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources. The current four-year labor agreement expires on Sept. 14 at midnight.
"We want the new GM to succeed and when it does, everyone will benefit,” said Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “We are playing to win, and we’re counting on our work force -- hourly and salaried -- to take on the challenges together and forge new partnerships as a competitive advantage."
UAW President Bob King noted the importance of focusing on products. “Our members bring a lot to any organization – a commitment to quality and producing the best product for the best price,” King said. “Our talks will center on the needs of our members and the need to continue to build great products.”
A joint donation of $25,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project extended the ceremonial start of talks. UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who directs the union's GM Department, and Cathy Clegg, GM vice president of Labor Relations, announced the contribution and recognized other charitable partnerships the UAW-GM team has with non-profit organizations across the country.
GM also announced a commitment to increase the number of veterans in the work force as the company prepares for hiring new employees. Military service will be among factors considered in the screening process. On May 10, GM announced $2 billion of investment at 17 plants in eight states, creating or retaining about 4,000 jobs over the next 18 months.
“Our work force is dedicated to producing great cars, trucks and crossovers every day,” Clegg said. “We’ll be working with our UAW partners to ensure our team continues to have the tools they need to build quality products and share in the success of the new GM.”
Ashton commented on the energy across the UAW and GM team. “GM’s positive momentum has been outstanding,” Ashton said. “I was there when GM started trading again on the New York Stock Exchange and I have participated in many U.S manufacturing announcements. Our membership plays a critical role in the success of this company and I’m proud to represent this work force.”
To learn more about the UAW and GM, visit: www.uawgmtalks.com