Hundreds file into Lansing Center for UAW vote meeting

 Workers head into the Lansing Center for a UAW meeting on October 10, 2019.
Workers head into the Lansing Center for a UAW meeting on October 10, 2019. (WILX)
Published: Oct. 20, 2019 at 5:23 PM EDT
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Sunday markers day 35 of the UAW strike against General Motors. Before the rollout of voting ballots to local unions, hundreds filled into the Lansing center for the chance to flesh out contract questions with UAW leadership.

"If we can get an understanding with everybody questioning and answering, then that’s what I'm trying to gain,” said Darius Berton, who’s worked for GM for 6 years and been through two strikes. “I'm trying to gain interest in what we're going to vote on before I end up going to vote and not knowing or understanding why I'm voting yea or nay."

The proposed four-year deal with GM promises record ratification bonuses, a path to permanent jobs for temporary employees, and eliminates the $12,000 cap on profit sharing workers can receive.

"I just feel like as long as we're not losing it's definitely a gain- pay raises, lump sums and there aren't too many places where you can get a lot of these incentives. You get out here in the real world and you really see what's available. Nobody's really giving a lot of these concessions. Is there room for improvement? Of course, but I don't think overall it's a bad contract," said Anwar Scott, who’s worked for GM for 17 years and been through two strikes.

But it’s a deal Berton can’t get on board with.

“Personally, I can't tell everyone what they're going to do, but I'm not going to vote yes," said Berton. “I'm not a traditional employee. I'm a two-tier so I kind of felt it was a little gray area for us because we're not going to progress where we’re supposed to progress or get raises where we're supposed to get raises."

A majority vote is needed to ratify the contract. Scott says people will decide based on their personal situations.

“ With the different hierarchies of pay, everyone is coming from a different mentality. You know, ultimately we have to think about progression moving forward. I'm still kind of undecided right now," said Scott.

If a deal isn’t ratified, it’s back to the negotiating table and workers stay on the picket lines. That’s something Berton says he’ll stay solid with the union for.

“As long as we gotta strike, I’ll strike. If we gotta do it till the first of the year, I’ll do it until the first of the year. I'm okay with it. I don't have a problem. I just want equal opportunity no matter what the case may be," said Berton.

Both Berton and Scott have volunteered in the community on top of their strike duties. They both hope to get back to work soon. Scott says despite the negative attention, everyone works extremely hard.

"If we have to wait it out, we'll wait it out, but it's a lot of us not making any money right now. Hopefully, we can get things ironed out and get back to it," said Scott.

Voting ends on Friday at 4 p.m. News 10 will bring you the results when we get them.

Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved.

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