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JD Norman reaching GM workers through mail

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GM's Indianapolis metal-stamping plant employees are looking in their mail boxes for the latest word on a proposed contract from JD Norman Industries.

The Illinois-based manufacturer wants to acquire the massive plant from General Motors before its scheduled closure in September 2011. The most valuable part of the deal would be the large, expensive equipment inside the plant and its skilled workforce. But United Auto Workers Union Local 23, which represents the 750 or so employees at the plant,  has declined to negotiate with JD Norman.

JD Norman held a meeting on Aug. 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium to answer questions from union members, who then circulated a petition around the plant in favor of holding a vote. Those members might have their chance, as the UAW's regional office appears to be arranging a vote by mail-in ballot. Local 23 First Vice President Rodney Conger said he spoke with a regional-level official on Wednesday.

"The answer I received is it will all be explained in this letter," he said.

UAW Region 3 President Maurice "Mo" Davison did not return a phone call requesting comment. JD Norman Industries CEO Justin Norman also did not respond to a request for comment.

Conger said that word on the shop floor Friday is that a ballot will accompany a new proposal, which includes $70,000 cash for union members who work for JD Norman for two years. The cash offer is double the amount in a previous proposal.

Under their current contract, union members have the right to transfer to other GM facilities and keep their current wages and benefits. JD Norman would run the Indianapolis plant at half the current union wages, so the cash offer recognizes the pay cut that union members would have to take. Norman's offer also would allow members to work for him for two years, but still transfer to GM.

Conger said he worries that lower wages at the Indianapolis plant would start a domino effect, which would follow him to another plant. "What’s the bigger picture?" he said. "They're going after wages overall."

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  • unemployed
    let the union workers walk if they don't
    want to work for $15 or $16 an hour I will,
    Please contact me,I will work 6days a week
    8 to 10 hours a day...
  • Indy Pat
    Here is the problem with the economics of the Indianapolis Stamping Plant. It is not located with an assemble line and the cost of moving the stampings makes it non-competitive with assemble plants with a stamping plant co-located.

    Secondly, labor has the economic incentive to move to other GM plant to keep what they have.

    Two economic forces moving and the out come will disappoint all but the few who move to another GM plant.
  • Honor The Contract
    You know if you were not retired! You would not feel this way! You know you would be fighting for your wages, etc. too! What are you going to do when your retirement check is cut in half!
  • Honor The Contract
    If there is a mail in vote! I hope that Local 23 fights that because it is illegal! HONOR THE CONTRACT!!!!!
  • Think about it
    Maybe that is the reason you don't have a good job today.
    • Take it
      I'm sure if you check the contract you'd find it is with GM, not the facility locale. It probably doesn't transfer. It is your right to not take any offer. Obviously it is your right not to even sit at the table, the option that you've seemed to take so far... But, in case you haven't lifted you head up from your work in the last couple years, we are in a recession, GM did go bankrupt, and a lot of people are jobless. I think, as a citizen of Indianapolis, that I'd like you to continue to work and be productive, tax payers in our society. GM doesn't care. They have a buyer, but he seems to need labor on board to get the deal done. GM will close this place if the deal fails. GM will gut the facility of assets and sell to highest bidder. Labor is playing a dangerous game right now. There are plenty of examples of this tactic not working in Labor's favor. And when you are out of job, where do the labor leaders go? Off to the next factory to screw up someone else's life...they don't lose, but go off to the next project.

      Or you can move, like your contract allows you to. Good luck selling the home!
    • explain why?
      Why is it that whatever statement is made by local 23 members, this is never said in an article. We don't want closure. We just want the contract to be honoured. SELL IT! JUST HONOR THE CONTRACT
    • WHAT ?
      kill the Union I take the job
      • Pay Cut
        Five years down the road they will demand you work for ten dollars an hour or move to Mexico. Just ask American Axle workers.

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