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GEMA workers vote to join national contract

by Bill Cawthon on

Automotive News is reporting that workers at the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Michigan, have voted to join in the next contract between Chrysler Group and the United Auto Workers.

According to Tom Zimmerman, GEMA unit chairman for the UAW, 99 percent of the 400-member Local 723 approved the measure, which will allow union members at the plant to vote on the national contract for the first time.

Under their current agreement, which expires October 14, GEMA workers, who had to have an engineering degree or journeyman’s card from a union-recognized trade, were were paid at Chrysler’s skilled trades rates and the plant was exempted from the two-tier wage system. In the national agreement, current employees will keep their current wage but new hires may receive the lower rate though they may not have to meet the same educational standards.

On September 18, UAW workers voted to authorize a strike over the implementation of a controversial shift program using a special provision of the contract allowing labor actions over local issues.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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