Judge allows Ohio GM workers to sue over back pay

A group of General Motors workers in northeast Ohio who say they were wrongly hit with a pay cut can move forward with a lawsuit against the automaker and the United Auto Workers.
Associated Press
Jan 6, 2013

Nearly 30 workers at GM's Lordstown factory argue that they were improperly classified as temporary employees after losing their jobs and then being rehired.

The union and company's request to dismiss the lawsuit was turned down late last week. U.S. District Judge Benita Pearson rejected their claim that too much time had passed and that most of the workers had not gone through the union's appeal process.

The workers at the Lordstown plant where GM makes the Chevy Cruze said in the lawsuit that they have been improperly classified as temporary employees since being hired in October 2006.

They lost their jobs in the spring of 2007 and were brought back six months later. The workers were briefly paid the same wage as permanent employees, but the lawsuit argues that they were reclassified as temporary workers in June 2008.

The workers said the change in classification cut their pay by more than 40 percent. They are seeking back pay of $3 million to $4 million.

They also charge that the union didn't stick up for them and refused to file a grievance.

Both the union and the company have denied the allegations in court documents. A local union official at the Lordstown plant where GM makes the Chevy Cruze has said that the workers weren't misrepresented.

Tom Mock, communications manager for the Lordstown plant, declined to comment Thursday.

A lawyer for the workers, Ken Myers, said it's possible that the lawsuit could pave the way for workers at other auto plants who have been forced into two-tier wage systems. But many wouldn't be able to sue because of time restrictions, he said.

Still, he has heard from other workers in a handful of states. "There are other potential lawsuits brewing," Myers said.

The lawsuit filed by the northeast Ohio workers in May 2011 said the Detroit-based General Motors Co. violated collective bargaining agreements reached between the company and the UAW in 2003 and 2007.

 

Comments

Dinghy Gal

Stuffed in their butts by the union again. All those years they paid those dues. Oh my!

Bluto

Why put the blame on the union , Dingy ? As far as the article read both the union and GM were on the same page . To me this sounds of internal strife . A dispute within the union mostly that also concerns GM .

Dinghy Gal

Hey Bluto,
Dingy I'm not. In Ohio you are "forced" to join the union in a union shop, right? After paying dues for who knows how long these people were laid off and then rehired, right? What happened to the union protection these rehired employees had come to expect? Now you have to sue the union for the benefits? This is not one disgruntled employee were looking at here. I just don;t get it.
Dinghy Gal

sorryhog

The Union protects the deadbeats!

The Big Dog's back

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

jim1450

Today’s unions are a sorry bunch compare to their predecessors, so sad.

Dr. Information

Right to work state needs to be a nationalized thing.