As if the Corvette C8 needed more production delays.
Demand for the Corvette C8 is high, with hopeful customers of Chevrolet's mid-engined sportscar being put on waiting lists that reportedly stretch to as late as 2025.
With 2023 Model Year production of the Bowling Green-assembled Corvette set to commence mid-year, Chevrolet is hoping to supply as many C8s to eager customers as possible, following setbacks caused by a tornado that tore through the factory and destroyed a great number of vehicles. But workers on the production line are not happy with their labor conditions, many of them working without a local contract. This is according to the Bowling Green Daily News that spoke to Jason Watson, a shop chairman for UAW Local 2164.
Recently, members rejected an offer that they say doesn't address their concerns, with an overwhelming 98% of production workers and 97% of skilled trades workers declining the offer from Bowling Green's management.
Watson told the local newspaper that the outcome was expected. "It's disappointing that the company doesn't take into consideration what the hourly workers are asking for in improvements."
Some of the issues perturbing workers include worries around health and safety. They also want a commitment from America's biggest carmaker to use UAW members for tasks such as maintenance work and 3D printing - work that is currently contracted.
President of Local 2164, Brain Ferrett, believes workers assembling the much-lauded Corvette C8 should receive guarantees about their employment future. He told the local newspaper that General Motors has, over the last 20 years, pushed for a third party to do the work at a lower wage. He noted that in most cases, the carmaker has succeeded in this.
A worry for Chevrolet and eager Corvette owners is the possibility of a strike. While the latest rejection hasn't escalated to this, the Local 2164 President has said it could lead to this if the issues facing plant workers cannot be settled. A strike authorization has been approved, which could be a cause for concern, especially for General Motors. Ferrett has said, however, that there is a process that needs to be followed prior to any strike action.
Like Local 2164, management at the Bowling Green plant has also communicated a desire to continue talks and issued the following statement:
"We are disappointed that UAW Local 2164 voted down the local contract. We will continue to meet with the local union to understand the vote and will continue to negotiate. Our goal is to reach an agreement that benefits employees and positions our business to be competitive as we move forward."
Hopefully, the two parties can find an amicable solution to problems facing the plant workers. The Corvette C8 is already facing myriad delays and we're not sure how much longer optimistic future owners will remain that way.