The threat of a strike could delay Corvette C8 production yet again.
Despite tremendous demand for the Corvette Stingray, the Bowling Green production facility in Kentucky just can't seem to catch a break. From a 40-day-long strike to a tornado ripping through the facility, production delays have become a common theme for the all-American sports car.
We recently reported the looming threat of a strike by union workers, unhappy with their labor conditions. The saga continues, with General Motors now negotiating with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. Detroit Free Press reports the workers - who have been working without a local union contract for two years - have rejected management's most recent offer because of demands management refuses to settle.
UAW Local 2164 shop chairman, Jason Watson, told the Michigan-based news outlet that management's non-acceptance is frustrating as the demands "are not egregious in nature, especially during economic good times." The facility's 1,300 workers have reportedly said they will hold out for their demands. Earlier in January, 97% of the skilled trades workers and 98% of production workers declined management's offer.
Currently, there are several outstanding issues the union wants GM to address. UAW Local 2164 wants the carmaker to commit to using UAW members for tasks such as 3D printing, striping, and maintenance work of vehicles - tasks currently undertaken by external companies. The union also wants General Motors to commit to an increased pay rate for certain jobs that require auxiliary skills and knowledge.
Watson remarked that the Corvette needs to meet certain quality standards in order to keep customers happy. "Ensuring we're making a quality product is absolutely high on our priority list. But to get that all right takes special skill."
What's more, the union is demanding a commitment to build future generations of the mid-engine sports car at Bowling Green and to use local skilled workers in the company's Performance Build Center, where GM makes high-performance engines for the Z06 and Cadillac Blackwing series.
Watson went on to say the union does not want a strike, but noted, "when management continues to very reluctantly or satisfactorily settle these issues, then they're going to remain on the bargaining table." A strike at the facility would hamper the production of the Corvette yet again, something GM certainly doesn't want with the impending introduction of the Z06.
Detroit Free Press notes that should the carmaker and the union reach an agreement, it will only be valid through September 2023 when it would expire. "We want to see success for the company we work for," concludes Watson. "But, for our workforce, we want to have continued success and jobs at the plant and job security too." Let's hope a resolution is reached soon.