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GM Postpones 2,190 Layoffs at Van Nuys

May 23, 1986|ALAN GOLDSTEIN | Times Staff Writer

General Motors has postponed the indefinite layoff of 2,190 workers at its auto plant in Van Nuys to July 7, a move that will give the employees nearly three more weeks on the assembly line, company officials said Thursday.

The extension stems from GM's decision to shut down both of the plant's shifts for one week beginning June 9 to install $2 million in new paint-spraying equipment. GM originally planned to close its second shift indefinitely on June 9.

However, Betsy Hayhow, a GM spokeswoman in Warren, Mich., said the company will bring back the plant's second shift temporarily on June 16 to make up for the lost time. GM announced its layoff plans early last month, citing a need to reduce bulging inventories.

The Van Nuys plant, with about 4,800 workers, is the only remaining auto plant in Southern California and the second-largest corporate employer in the San Fernando Valley. It has been facing the possibility of a permanent shutdown since GM put it on an "endangered list" in 1982, primarily because of the added costs of producing a car so far from Midwestern parts suppliers.

In an effort to keep the plant open, some United Auto Workers officials have been negotiating with GM to adopt Japanese-style production techniques.

Ray Ruiz, chairman of the bargaining committee for UAW Local 645, said the union and GM are close to reaching an agreement that will be disclosed shortly. Hayhow, the GM spokeswoman, declined to comment on the talks.

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