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UAW Will Vote on GM-Toyota Contract

June 25, 1985|Associated Press

DETROIT — The United Auto Workers said Monday that it had reached tentative agreement on a three-year contract covering production workers at the Fremont, Calif., assembly plant operated jointly by General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. of Japan.

The union said a ratification vote would be held today at the plant, where a type of Toyota Corolla subcompact car is made. The cars are being marketed by GM under the Chevrolet Nova name.

No details were released.

Since last year, workers have been covered by a 1983 letter of intent between the union and the joint venture company that provided for Japanese-style work rules, which the auto industry has come to regard as vastly more efficient than the American method containing dozens of job classes.

The company, New United Motor Manufacturing, was trying in the contract to get jobs divided into four classes--three skilled trades classes and one production class, company spokeswoman Tina Bunyard said. She said she didn't know if that had been accomplished.

There were 84 job classes at the plant when it closed March 5, 1982, at the depth of the auto industry depression, she said. Operated solely by GM, the plant then made mid-size cars.

The UAW issued a two-sentence news release on the new contract but provided no details.

The UAW this month signed a letter intent with Mazda Motor Corp. of Japan that top union officials say resembles the major portions of the GM-Toyota pact. It will cover workers at the plant that Mazda plans to open south of Detroit in 1987.

The Fremont plant employs 1,500 workers, 1,200 of them represented by the UAW. A second shift is to be added early next year, pushing total employment to about 2,500. Bunyard said she didn't know how many of those workers would be in the UAW unit.

The UAW has failed in its attempts to organize production workers at the other two Japanese vehicle assembly operations in the United States--Nissan Motor's plant in Smyrna, Tenn., and Honda Motor's plant in Marysville, Ohio.

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