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Ripple Effect of Delco Strike Puts GM Plant on Short Hold

November 25, 1986|ALAN GOLDSTEIN | Times Staff Writer

General Motors' assembly plant in Van Nuys will be shut down for a week, and possibly longer, starting Monday because of a parts shortage resulting from the now-settled Delco Electronics strike, company officials announced. All 2,850 Van Nuys employees will be idled.

The 7,700 workers at Delco's Kokomo, Ind., factory returned to work Monday, two days after ratifying a contract that ended their six-day strike. The interruption of parts shipments to Van Nuys, however, depleted the GM plant's inventory of radios and other electronic parts, leaving it with enough to last only through Wednesday.

The plant was supposed to close for Thanksgiving on Thursday and Friday anyway, and it normally is closed weekends. So Monday will be the first scheduled workday lost because of the Delco strike.

Plant Reopening Dec. 8

Delco shipments are starting again, but GM does not expect to resume making Chevrolet Camaros and Pontiac Firebirds in Van Nuys until Dec. 8 at the earliest, plant manager Ernest D. Schaefer said Monday.

He said that, because the shutdown is strike-related, furloughed workers will not get GM benefits but that many will be eligible for state unemployment compensation.

More than 50,000 GM workers in nine states and Canada have been idled by the Delco strike. Van Nuys is feeling the effect after most other factories because of the time it takes to ship parts across the Rockies. Most GM plants are in the Midwest.

The auto maker's streamlined "just-in-time" inventory system prompted some plants to shut within 24 hours of the onset of the Delco strike. Under the system, parts arrive at the factory when they are needed, cutting inventory-carrying costs.

The temporary plant closings are not related to a decision that GM announced Nov. 6 to close 11 factories over the next two years. The Van Nuys plant was spared from those shutdowns.

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