UAW members in Indiana decided to give the finger to Indiana and force the closure of a former GM plant rather than agreeing to pay restructuring (and a $35,000 cash bonus to boot). A buyer for the plant was prepared to keep the 650 workers employed, as long as they agreed to bring their pay scale in line with industry averages. The employees would still have retained the option to transfer to another GM plant within two years, and were offered the $35,000 cash payout as a way to soften the pay cut if they decided to stay local. The UAW’s answer – screw you!
The buyer anticipated ramping the plant up to 2000 workers eventually, so not only did the UAW stiff Indiana for the 650 existing jobs, they eliminated 1350 potential jobs as well. The cost to the local economy includes $1.8 million loss per year in tax revenue to the county, and a payroll of about $40 million of consumer spending that just evaporated.
State officials are not happy. Indiana Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob summed it up this way, “We’re exasperated by this …. The taxpayers of this country bailed out General Motors and their workers. Now, those workers here turned their backs on future generations of people who might have had their jobs in Indiana.”
“This whole process has been corrupted by the international (union),” said Jeff Klingerman, 56, an Indianapolis tool-and-die maker. Some industry analysts are concerned that the vote could complicate the sale of 16 additional GM factories and other assets left behind in the GM bailout.