LORDSTOWN Change in hiring irks union at GM

Some workers have to pass a test to be hired, but others don't, the union said.
LORDSTOWN -- The union at General Motors' Lordstown Assembly Plant is so upset about a change in hiring policy that it says "management's word is viewed as worthless in the area of hiring."
United Auto Workers Local 1112 made the statement in a flier released to workers this week after being told by management that temporary workers could be hired permanently without taking a test that other potential candidates must take.
Passing test: GM has set up a system in recent years that requires new hires to pass a test that measures basic skills, such as math, and team skills. The hiring pool comes from referrals from plant workers.
The plant had about 170 temporary workers last summer, said John Mohan, Local 1112 shop chairman. Some of them were on the referral list and some weren't.
Under the policy change, these temporary workers can be hired without taking the test if they've had a good evaluations from management, Mohan said.
He said he doesn't have a problem with temporary workers' being hired but thinks the change is unfair to temporary workers who had good evaluations in the past but were not hired because they didn't pass the test.
"We're going to refer complaints to management," he said.
All of the temporary workers who are to be hired soon are also on the referral list, but that doesn't mean they will be in the future, he said.
Wants test ended: Local 1112 has asked management to eliminate the testing, which would mean that those picked from the referral list would be hired if they pass a physical and drug screening. A plant spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Mohan said 500 of the 6,000 people on the referral list have been tested, and 200 have passed. The testing company is being changed, however. The union thinks there is something wrong with the test because most people aren't passing.
Mohan said he has asked UAW officials in Detroit to look into the hiring policy change to determine if it is being done at other plants and to see if they can pressure GM to change it.
Retirements: The plant has been hiring people because of retirements. Mohan said 30 people were hired recently and 89 more are scheduled to be hired by Nov. 5. There will be other hires in November and December. The plant has about 4,300 hourly workers.