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Workers at General Motors Corp.’s Saturn assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., begin voting today on a new labor agreement that could replace a historic, 20-year pact between the United Auto Workers union and GM that included a no-layoff policy.

The new agreement would put Saturn’s 6,000 workers in Tennessee more in line with the UAW’s national contract with GM and give the automaker more flexibility to shift vehicle production between plants and downsize its workforce when needed.

Workers have until Friday at midnight to cast ballots.

“I believe we’ll get strong support from our members,” said Rick Martinez, president of UAW Local 1853, which represents Saturn workers in Spring Hill, Tenn. “We got 6,000 jobs and families on the line.”

If the agreement passes, GM is expected to make “significant” capital investments in Spring Hill, including new paint and body shops, Martinez said.

Mike Herron, chairman of Local 1853’s bargaining committee, said the agreement could entice GM to bring new vehicles to the plant, including the next Ion sedan and coupe and VUE sport utility vehicle. “There are things in the agreement that allow for that,” he said, declining to elaborate.

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