Mitsubishi Work Goes on Without a Contract

By Staff Report

Sep. 9, 2008

Workers at Mitsubishi’s U.S. assembly plant continue to build vehicles despite a breakdown in contract talks with negotiators from the United Auto Workers.

The sides have reached an impasse on whether 1,250 UAW workers at the Normal, Illinois, plant will be asked for wage and benefit concessions, as they were two years ago during a period of financial trouble at Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi Motors North America spokesman Dan Irvin said there is no schedule for returning to the negotiating table, but that production continues at a normal pace.

The two sides have declined to publicly discuss the issues of their negotiations. But a statement posted Sunday, September 7, on Mitsubishi’s UAW Local 2488 Web site told U.S. workers that “it’s extremely disappointing that this latest proposal asks these loyal workers for the kind of drastic cuts that would have a devastating impact on their lives and on the communities in which they live.”

The statement is attributed to UAW vice president Jimmy Settles, who directs the UAW’s affairs with the non-Detroit Three automakers.

In the Web site statement, which instructs the workforce to continue reporting to work, Settles said: “In 2006 UAW members made concessions worth millions of dollars to improve Mitsubishi’s bottom line.”

A $4-an-hour wage reduction lasted until this year, when workers returned to their previous wage levels.

The current Mitsubishi contract expired August 28, but both sides agreed to extend talks through September 5. The contract would have expired in 2005, but the UAW agreed to two separate extensions as Mitsubishi worked to regain financial stability.

Filed by Lindsay Chappell of Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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