United Auto Workers union members at Baltimore's two General Motors facilities are expected to vote on a new three-year contract Sept. 30.
"There are some good sections of the national agreement, but I haven't seen the technical language yet," said Rodney Trump, president of UAW Local 239, which represents about 3,700 workers in Baltimore. "I don't want to comment until after I have read the entire agreement."
Mr. Trump was in Detroit Monday as part of the 300-member UAW bargaining council, but he said he left before the whole agreement had been printed for union officials. The council approved the agreement yesterday, preparing for its distribution to the 300,000 GM employees nationwide for a vote.
Employees of the GM minivan assembly plant on Broening Highway and the parts distribution center in Dorsey will receive a briefing on the proposed contract this week, Mr. Trump said.
Agreement on a local contract for the 3,500 workers at the assembly plant was reached Sunday night, three days after a tentative accord was reached for parts-center employees, Mr. Trump said.
"I'm very satisfied with both local agreements," he said.
The local agreements, which will be voted on with the national contract, cover such things as working conditions, facilities, local seniority and shift hours, he noted.
The UAW-GM agreement includes $4.2 billion to guarantee almost full income for laid-off workers but allows the automaker more flexibility to close plants.
"It's remarkable that we have any agreement at all to consider, given the conditions -- the economy, the Middle East, the new auto-fuel economy standards that affected these negotiations," Mr. Trump said.
Several employees at the Broening Highway plant said yesterday that they wanted to read details of the agreement before commenting.
"I'm glad they got something, but I'll have to wait to see it," said an employee who identified himself as "just Bill."
Several other workers said they would "have to wait and see." No strike had been expected at the plant because of encouraging signs that came from the Detroit negotiations Friday, they said.
"One thing I can be specific about
is how positive everybody is that we have an agreement," said autoworker Gary Meadows.
Mr. Trump said he is trying to arrange a voting session at Essex Community College Sept. 30.
Despite the new proposed contract, the parts warehouse, which has more than 200 employees, is scheduled to close by spring after five years of delays and reprieves.
Operations will shift to an automated center in Martinsburg, W.Va., where the Dorsey employees will be offered jobs, GM said. The closing of the rented, 250,000-square-foot center is part of the automaker's plan to consolidate parts warehouses serving East Coast dealers.
In the next few years, analysts say, GM will shut at least three plants and lay off more than 20,000 workers.