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Prospective GM plant buyer pleads case in advertisement

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While local United Auto Wokers declared victory over an attempt to shift their work to a new owner, JD Norman Industries Inc. is making it clear that it hasn't given up on its plan to buy the General Motors Co. stamping plant southwest of downtown Indianapolis.

The Addison, Ill.-based company placed a full-page advertisement in Tuesday’s edition of The Indianapolis Star explaining its plan to buy the plant, which is slated for closure next year unless it can be sold.

GM is trying to sell the plant to JD Norman, but hasn't received cooperation from UAW Local 23, which represents 631 workers at the plant. Union members voted 384-22 on May 26 not to open contract negotiations with Norman. Despite the initial vote, higher-level UAW officials continued to work with JD Norman and GM to come up with a proposal the rank-and-file might accept.

Union members were expected to hear about the proposed five-year contract over the weekend, but members of Local 23 shouted down the union's international representatives at the Sunday afternoon meeting. The meeting ended abruptly, and plans to hold a vote Monday were canceled.

Union members dislike the plan because it cuts base wages from $29 per hour to $15.50. Union reps say local members would rather see the plant close in the hopes that they'll be transferred to other GM plants.

JD Norman's advertisement highlighted one option under the proposed contract that would allow union members to stay with General Motors Corp. and retain their transfer rights.

“While I understand the sentiment of those employees who would rather transfer to another GM plant, our proposal would guarantee their GM transfer rights without having to close the facility,” said the ad, which was signed by JD Norman President and CEO Justin Norman. “Why then would any employees want to see the plant close?"

UAW Local 23 member Donny Jones said it's not enough to allow some members to transfer.

“If they leave the plant open, there's no work to go to. That's the issue.”

It appears Norman can't buy the plant and use it to supply parts to GM without the UAW's approval. The UAW's current agreement prevents GM from outsourcing the work at the plant to a non-union business.

“He's welcome to buy the building, but not the business,” Jones said.

Bargaining Committee Chairman Greg Clark said he received congratulations from UAW members around the country for stopping the proposed wage cuts.

“We would have been the lead domino,” he said.

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  • Dave in Indy
    I can still hear the bragging from a friend and UAW employee about how he constantly had someone clock him in and out even if he was on "vacation", how he slept on shift when he was there, how he never missed a televised ball game because of the hidden tv at the plant, how he had cookouts on the roof during his shift, how he paid UAW hiring officals to get his family hired, that he made practically $100 bucks an hour and worked seven days a week and how much money he won every day playing "tonk" while tending to his millright job... Well folks now it payback time.
  • GM is not broke
    GM will have multi-billion dollar profit this year. They cleaned up their balance sheet via bankruptcy process, so they are not broke at all. Maybe these jobs are not worth $29 for them to be able to compete with Koreans and Chinese, but I understand these workers as well. They see the company making money after they had to make some concessions, and they don't want to give in. GM had no shame to basically wipe out their shareholders, erase their debt by not paying their bondholders and then taking government loans, so why would this workers act aginst their self-interest?
  • $15.50 sounds lucrative in todays job market
    Ok J.D. Norman, go ahead and buy the facility, contract with whatever companies that need metal stamping services and I will work for you @ $15.50 hourly.
    Maybe I should mention that I have some College, 30 years experience in machine maintenance/repair and was always considered very good at taking care of issues in a timely manner.
    No need for many fringe benefits at this time but would appreciate armed security to and from work to protect me from those jobless folks that refused to listen to their national union.
  • wake up
    its like this if we let j.d.norman take over and we take his pay cut then we screw every brother and sister in gm gm then will go after all gm plants for wage cuts and the there is the outsourcing that will go on just remember people at toyota makes more than 15.50 hr
  • Daves Right
    If they take Normans deal, then there will be no need for GM to transfer these people to another Stamping Plant!
  • IQ draining
    I feel dumber everytime I read about this issue. Most of the employees will be working in another GM plant very soon anyway so what do they care. We stood our ground! Really for what?! Maybe you don't think you can live on 15 bucks an hour but you can! And who says it will stay that way, union contracts are about as solid as NFL contracts these days. Quit buying the Harleys, Boats,Caddy's and Stuff you don't need and SUCK IT UP! And don't sell the "can you afford a 50% cut" speech. Most people are not making 60 grand plus a year($29.50/HR)doing work that can be trained in a limited time.
  • $0/hr
    If the market could bare to pay $29/hr, than GM wouldn't be closing the plant. You may not like $15 but thats what the market says your labor is worth. Better than $0/hr. What do politicians have to do with this? Govt doesnt save jobs, their meddling cost jobs. It should be obvious by now.
  • PLEASE THINK THIS THRU....
    $15 AN HOUR IS UNREALISTIC AFTER TAXES, MEDICAL INSURANCE, 401K OR IRA CONTRIBUTION, MORTGAGE PAYMENT, PUTTING FOOD ON THE TABLE, TRANSPORTATION ETC...IT SEEMS IN THE LONG RUN MORE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE WILL BE NEEDED, FURTHER PUTTING A BURDEN ON EVERYONE ELSE. WHEN PEOPLE MAKE GOOD WAGES AND BENEFITS THEY CAN SUSTAIN THEIRSELVES AND PUT MONEY BACK INTO THE LOCAL ECONOMY. MY WISH IS THAT ALL POLITICIANS WOULD COMPREHEND THIS.
  • typical union mentality
    Dave in Indy - You still don't get it! If your employer gets rich, you get pay raises and he hires more employees. When your employer is poor (like GM), you loose your job. Everyone benefits when your employer does well! Can't you union guys understand the basics? You deserve to be unemployed.
  • Rakes reeks
    It also reeks of funny business, LOL.
  • I'm not a union fat, but....
    I have never been a fan of Unions but, this rakes of "funny business." $15 an hour sounds about right for a new employee but not a skilled employee. The UAW "high level folks" seem to have some kind of incentive in this and it's not about the workforce. Wonder who is getting their palms greased, here? Can you afford a 50% pay cut, especially when there is a good chance you can go to another worksite and make the same $29 hour? Why would you take a cut, just to make someone else stinking rich?
  • And they STILL don't get it
    Those jobs will be GONE FOREVER if this deal fails - GM can, and will, get around the "mo outsourcing" by opening a plant in Guatemala, and pay those workers $29.90 / DAY - and 631 more Hoosiers who seem to be dumber than a box of rocks will be OUT OF WORK. Period. Dot. Then maybe Norman will buy the plant and make parts for Toyota...

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  1. It is nice and all that the developer grew up here and lives here, but do you think a company that builds and rehabs cottage-style homes has the chops to develop $150 Million of office, retail, and residential? I'm guessing they will quickly be over their skis and begging the city for even more help... This project should occur organically and be developed by those that can handle the size and scope of something like this as several other posters have mentioned.

  2. It amazes me how people with apparently zero knowledge of free markets or capitalism feel the need to read and post on a business journal website. Perhaps the Daily Worker would suit your interests better. It's definitely more sympathetic to your pro government theft views. It's too bad the Star is so awful as I'm sure you would find a much better home there.

  3. In other cities, expensive new construction projects are announced by real estate developers. In Carmel, they are announced by the local mayor. I am so, so glad I don't live in Carmel's taxbase--did you see that Carmel, a small Midwest suburb, has $500 million in debt?? That's unreal! The mayor thinks he's playing with Lego sets and Monopoly money here! Let these projects develop organically without government/taxpayer backing! Also, from a design standpoint, the whole town of Carmel looks comical. Grand, French-style buildings and promenades, sitting next to tire yards. Who do you guys think you are? Just my POV as a recent transplant to Indy.

  4. GeorgeP, you mention "necessities". Where in the announcement did it say anything about basic essentials like groceries? None of the plans and "vision" have basic essentials listed and nothing has been built. Traffic WILL be a nightmare. There is no east/west road capacity. GeorgeP, you also post on www.carmelchatter.com and your posts have repeatedly been proven wrong. You seem to have a fair amount of inside knowledge. Do you work on the third floor of Carmel City Hal?

  5. I don't know about the commuter buses...but it's a huge joke to see these IndyGo buses with just one or two passengers. Absolutely a disgusting waste of TAXPAYER money. Get some cojones and stop funding them. These (all of them) council members work for you. FIRE THEM!

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