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UAW: GM plant closures violate labor agreement

by Justin King

The union argues GM's creative use of the term 'unallocated' does not relieve the company from terms of the Plant Closing Moratorium.

The United Auto Workers has reportedly accused General Motors of violating a labor agreement when the company announced plans to wind down operations at four US factories.

GM's carefully worded announcement raised eyebrows in its use of the term 'unallocated' to describe a plan to stop production at the plants. UAW officials now argue the language was designed to dodge provisions in a 2015 agreement that prohibit the company from 'idling' or 'closing' any factories.

"Characterizing these plants as 'unallocated' -- rather than closed or idled -- does nothing to relieve the company of its obligation to comply with the Plant Closing Moratorium," UAW's GM head, Terry Dittes, wrote in a letter to GM's VP of labor relations, Scott Sandefur, as quoted by . "We expect the company to honor its commitments and we will use all of our resources to enforce our agreements."

Apparently preparing for a protracted market slump, GM's restructuring plan will affect around 14,000 salaried and hourly workers. The announcement quickly sparked a political controversy, drawing criticism from President Donald Trump and officials in affected states.

The timing of the announcement does not come as much of a surprise, as GM and the UAW are just months away from engaging in negotiations for their next four-year agreement.