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Allison Transmission sign

Source: WISH-TV / other

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — UAW workers at Allison Transmission have been working without a contract for the last few months.

Since November, negotiators from the union and the company have been trying to work out a new contract to avoid a strike. So far talks have not yielded anything substantial and the UAW Local 933 says time is running out.

UAW Local 933 bargaining Chairperson George Freeman tells WISH-TV that wages are at the core of the disagreements between the union and Allison. He likened wages for workers to that of fast-food workers.

“An assembler and an FMS operator, which is a fabricating machine specialist, these are the core jobs there,” Freeman said. “They start at $14.72 per hour.”

He said that the starting number needs to be much higher.

Freeman said union workers believe they have earned higher wages given the fact that Allison stayed open when they could during the height of the COVID pandemic. They make transmissions for school buses, semi-trucks, and the military.

A strike and a work stoppage at Allison Transmission would certainly throw a big monkey wrench in the supply chain.

One way to solve the wage disparity would be to eliminate a tier system of pay that was introduced by Allison a decade ago, according to Freeman. He said workers on different tiers get paid far different salaries for doing the same jobs.

“A gentleman could be doing a fabricating machining job making $30 an hour,” Freeman said. ‘While a tier worker could come in making only $15 or $16 an hour.”

Freeman feels they have momentum on their side given the UAw’s recent contract agreements with the Big Three automakers in Detroit.

UAW Local 933 has not set a date yet for when they could hit the picket lines if a deal is not reached soon.