GM

This Jan. 25, 2010, photo, shows a General Motors Co. logo during a news conference in Detroit. General Motors Co.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

The last temporary workers at the Kokomo General Motors Components Holdings plant were laid off last month just weeks before the company announced it was moving 1,350 temporary employees to full-time at 14 U.S. facilities.

Greg Wohlford, shop chair of United Auto Workers Local 292, which represents the plant, said the last eight temp workers were let go in December. He said the company two years ago employed around 35 temp workers, all of whom have been gradually laid off since then.

The terminations come after GM on Wednesday announced more than 1,350 temporary workers at 14 facilities will get full-time positions before the end of March at manufacturing plants and other sites in Indiana, Michigan, New York, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky.

The workers got a path to full-time status in contract negotiations between the UAW and the company. The agreement came after a contentious 40-day strike last fall that crippled GM’s U.S. production and cost the company well over $1 billion.

The Kokomo plant now only has around 250 full-time employees, Wohlford said.

The layoffs of the last temp workers are the most recent round of cuts that have decimated the workforce at the facility in the last few years.

In 2017, 160 workers were laid off after the plant stopped producing semiconductors, reducing the workforce from about 755 employees to around 600. That was followed by other rounds of cuts.

GM spokesperson Stephanie Jentgen said there are currently no other permanent workforce changes set for the Kokomo facility. She said in an email the company will “continue to manage the business to ensure we have the appropriate number of employees to meet product demand.”

Local UAW Local 292 members in October overwhelmingly voted to reject the new four-year contract with GM, with 80% of production workers and 64% of skilled trades voting it down.

Nationally, union members voted in favor or the agreement, with 57.2% of production, skilled and salary workers saying yes to the contract.

Wohlford said in a previous interview the biggest reason local workers disapproved of the agreement was the fact it didn’t guarantee jobs would stay in Kokomo or any other GM plant and not be shipped to Mexico or other overseas locations.

Under the new contract, workers at GM’s Components Holding facilities, which are subsidiaries of the company, see their max pay capped at $22.50 after working at the company for more than eight years.

That’s about $10 less than GM’s non-Component Holdings plants, like the ones in Fort Wayne and Marion, where the top wage is $32.32 per hour.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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Carson Gerber is a reporter for the Kokomo Tribune and can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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