General Motors employees near Nashville, Tenn., narrowly rejected a proposed contract with the UAW, an early indication that the union’s vote to end a more than five-week strike could be a close call.
In one of the first votes by a major union local, a slight majority of GM’s roughly 3,300 workers at its Spring Hill assembly plant cast ballots against the tentative agreement reached last week. Most UAW locals won’t post results until Friday. At least three smaller locals have voted overwhelmingly in favor of the deal since Monday.
Overall, yes votes led 3,683 to 2,116 as of Tuesday morning, according to an Automotive News tally. Production workers so far have voted 59 percent in favor while 77 percent of skilled trades workers have approved it. Both groups must separately approve the contract.
But the Tennessee results probably are “casting some market doubt over whether deal will be ratified by the Friday deadline,” Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst at Evercore ISI, wrote in a report.
The Spring Hill vote is a setback for GM, which is seeking approval for a deal that would give workers 3 percent raises in two of the four years of the contract and an $11,000 signing bonuses. While the UAW also managed to keep their generous health care benefits intact and secure commitments for the company to invest $7.7 billion in U.S. plants, some workers are upset GM intends to follow through with plans to close three factories at a time when it’s earning near-record profits.
The fate of the agreement will rest on larger locals that have yet to vote, including at GM’s three largest plants: Arlington, Texas, which employs 5,078 hourly workers; Flint, Mich., with 4,800 hourly workers; and Fort Wayne, Indiana, with 4,500 employees. Smaller locals in Toledo, Ohio, and Warren and Saginaw, Michigan, have said that big majorities of their members cast ballots in favor of the agreement.