Preparations under way for new contracts

By Jim Fisher

During the month of March our members will begin to see several significant steps take place for our preparation leading into September contract talks. Beginning March first, the Federal Mediator will begin counting votes for the UAW International Board of Director’s last two open positions of President of the UAW, and the final open position for UAW Vice President.

These important results will finally tell UAW members across the country who will be leading our Union over the next four years, and who will be leading us into contract talks not just at Ford, but with General Motors and Stellantis North America as well.

As for Local 249 members during this election process, there was a significant increase in our voting totals. I would like to thank all our members who took part in this process. March will also start the next steps in the International Contract process. The Bargaining Committee will be in meeting in Detroit with other UAW/Ford local leaders discussing the proposals submitted by members across the country.

During these meetings leaders will work on finalizing these proposals and make the last proofreads to prepare them for presentation to the International Negotiating Team. Towards the end of March Local 249 Leaders will attend the National Bargaining Convention to speak and vote on the proposals sent to the National Bargaining Team.

With all that said, in March there is still important work that remains to be done. In the next few weeks Local 249’s Bargaining Committee will send out fliers across the plant asking for members to make proposals for the Local Agreement. Some new members may not know the difference between the two agreements.

The International Agreement covers topics such as pay, health care, job security, plant investments, seniority, attendance policy’s, scheduling, and paid holidays. The Local Agreement covers the operating practices that are specific to KCAP and Local 249 members. Some examples of items covered in the Local Agreement are the calendar program, job bidding agreements, overtime equalization, stop button procedures, and shift preference agreements.

During March Local 249 eligible members will also be receiving payments for 2022 profit sharing. In contract years we remind members it’s a good idea to plan to set aside a little savings plan for September.

While any type of work stoppage would only be used as a last resort, we continue to see an increase in unions and companies either negotiating to the last hour or having a work stoppage. In just the past few months UAW members have been on the picket line at several locations including John Deere, Case New Holland, and University of California Academic Workers.