Since April workers at TDS-US Automotive have been insulted at the outcome of contract talks between the company and united autoworkers. But Friday there was an overwhelming vote of confidence. It was clear that this third contract was one that many TDS workers could tolerate. The final vote was 305 – Yes and 142 - No.
Ben, a worker at TDS says, "The pay scale is still low for what we do but the majority rules in this case and a lot of people are doing it for the insurance and a lot for the security."
In the past, workers were only offered a yearly increase of 25 cents. The latest contract gives workers an extra 50 cents a year over the next 5 years. There is a $500 sign on bonus and retro active pay dating back to April. Workers tell 23 News that Chrysler even kicked in money to make the contract a little more appealing. There was talk that if this latest contract did not go through, that employees would lose their jobs.
Yvette McNeely who voted against contract states, “The rumor was going around that it was being said to some people, some of the new comers."
Rumors were also flying around about Chrysler coming in and taking over TDS. Right now TDS is a sequencing center to the Belvidere plant. Yvette tells 23 News, “I did not want it to go through. I think we could have held out for more."
Jason Mielke who voted "Yes" tells 23 News that, "It's a step. It's a starter step. We need a place to start. I know it's not a lot but it's a start."
On a UAW website there was discussion about a strike taking place next week. But that's a move that won't happen now that a deal has been reached. What might happen though is workers will contest the vote. The contract is effective immediately. When the third shift begins TDS will employ about 600 people.