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Would-be buyer urging GM workers to vote on pay cuts

August 30, 2010

A businessman seeking to buy General Motors Co.'s Indianapolis metal-stamping plant met with workers Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium to urge them to accept pay cuts allowing the sale.

Addison, Ill.-based JD Norman Industries seeks wage and benefit cuts as a condition of the purchase.

United Auto Workers Local 23 opposes the concessions, which would cut base wages from $29 to $15.50 an hour.

Company owner Justin Norman made a personal plea for the union to allow a vote on his proposed five-year contract. If the contract is approved, Norman would be able to acquire the plant, as well as the book of business from GM. Norman said he hopes to grow beyond that business, as production volumes rise across the automotive industry.

Norman told workers Sunday that skilled trade workers at his Chicago-area plant earn almost $100,000 a year, according to the Indianapolis Star. The concessions would cut skilled trade wages from $33 to $24 an hour.

Norman also said he wants to retain all of the salaried and hourly workforce. He said there are about 90 salaried and 661 hourly employees, including some temps.

The UAW says it's better for workers to exercise their right to transfer to another plant if the Detroit-based automaker closes the plant next year as scheduled.

Earlier this month, Norman admitted he hoped media coverage would bring pressure on UAW officials to hold a vote, which he believes was prevented by a "vocal minority."

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