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Indiana Workers Reject Proposed GM, UAW Contract

Expert says Marion plant workers' decision may have been influenced by General Motor's announcement it may close the plant after 2011.

MARION, Ind. (AP) — Workers at a General Motors assembly factory in Marion have voted against ratifying a new contract between the car maker and United Auto Workers.
A total of 50.7 percent of the plant's voting members rejected the contract, John Pence, UAW Local 977 president, said Tuesday.
Pence did not say how many of the local's 1,280 members voted.
''I knew it was going to be close,'' Pence said. ''I thought it would possibly be close in the other direction.''
The Marion plant was among 15 that GM announced this month it would consider shutting down after 2011, a factor that a Ball State University business expert said may have influenced the vote.
''If you're a younger worker ... then there's no reason for you to accept this contract negotiation because you'll be out of a job in four or five years anyway,'' said Michael J. Hicks, director of the Bureau of Business Research at Ball State.
Pence said he thought the vote centered on a lack of information on what the contract describes as a core job.
GM and UAW agreed on the new contract late last month, after a two-day, nationwide strike by the union. It requires GM to pay out at least $35 billion to the union to set up a trust to handle retiree health care. It also establishes lower wages for thousands of new employees.
The union's 74,000 hourly workers have been voting on the contract. A final tally will be done by Wednesday.
The company also has plants in Indianapolis, Bedford and Fort Wayne, for a total of about 5,700 employees in the state, along with some 91,000 retirees and their dependents.
Fort Wayne workers voted to ratify the contract last week. Tallies for Bedford and Indianapolis were not immediately available Tuesday night.
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