SPRING HILL, Tenn. - GM workers in Spring Hill approved a new contract Wednesday night.
Local members of the United Auto Workers voted and 88.2% approved to ratify the national contract.
UAW local 1853 Chairman Mark Herron said with the new contract, there would be some major concessions.
"They're very substantive changes with compensation plans, changes to vacation time frames, compression of classifications, I mean major substantive changes that are reversals of the collective bargaining process over the last 10, 20, 30 years," Herron said. "But, I also think that the majority of our members understand that it would have been catastrophic to have a 'no' vote on this particular contract."
The new contract does not guarantee the future of the Spring Hill plant but the chairman said they really had no choice given the alternative.
"Oh, I think we would seal our fate immediately," Herron said. "[There are] too many plants in competition for the products that are going to be there and clearly General Motors is going to keep price in the most competitive plants. It'd be difficult to go ahead and understand why there would need to be changes here two or three years ago if the corporation was making a significant amount of money. Obviously, that's not the case today."
The chairman said if the position is based on a political position, the outcome does not look good, but if it is based upon a business position, it makes the Spring Hill plant competitive.
The plant will temporarily shut down for five weeks, beginning June 8.
The federal government has given GM a June 1 deadline to finish a major restructuring or file for bankruptcy.
The company will likely file for bankruptcy, even though Thursday, GM said its bondholders had agreed to a new deal.
That offer would erase some of the company's debt in exchange for 10% of its stock, with warrants to buy up to 15%.
GM's stocks rose when the company announced it would make the new offer.
The offer stands as long as the bondholders support the sale of the company's assets to a new company while under bankruptcy court protection.