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GM, Union Reach Accord at Truck Plant : Auto makers: UAW members, who have been on strike for six days in Louisiana, are to vote today on the tentative pact.

January 17, 1994|From Times Wire Services

DETROIT — General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers union reached a tentative agreement to settle a six-day strike at the auto maker's Shreveport, La., compact pickup truck plant.

The two sides reached an accord on a local pact Sunday morning after about 40 hours of talks. A vote on the contract was set for this afternoon, said Warren Danford, financial secretary for United Auto Workers Local 2166.

Details of the contract were not released, but Danford said he expected it to be ratified.

If the agreement is approved, the 2,300 hourly workers at the plant could be back on the job by Tuesday morning.

Employees, frustrated by a lack of a local agreement and a work pace that they said was too fast, walked off the job Tuesday after talks failed to produce an agreement.

"It's the same thing it's been all the time--manpower," Danford said.

"The tentative agreement is equitable for both GM and the UAW," said GM spokeswoman Mary Ann Tyler. "It continues to support our needs in managing the facility to meet competitive targets as well as addressing the concerns of the work force."

Since GM reached a new national three-year agreement with the UAW last October, about 48 of 119 local agreements remain unsettled, many of them in GM's truck and components divisions.

The strike is the first walkout since GM and the UAW reached agreement on a new national labor contract in October covering about 254,000 hourly U.S. workers.

Both GM, the U.S.' biggest auto maker, and the UAW declined to release details of the agreement before the ratification vote.

The Louisiana assembly plant makes 816 Chevrolet and GMC S-Series and Sonoma compact pickup trucks a day, compared with a rate of 768 a day last year.

The trucks, also made at GM's Linden, N.J., plant, are among GM's best-selling vehicles. The vehicles were redesigned for the 1994-model year.

Analysts had estimated that a strike at the Shreveport plant could cost GM about $3 million a day if it resulted in a shortage of new trucks.

"That's in the ballpark, assuming a gross variable profit of about $4,000 a vehicle," said Nicholas Lobaccaro, of S.G. Warburg & Co. in New York. "There's a lot of interest in these trucks by dealers."

GM has about a 90-day supply of its small pickups on hand, which is above the 65- to 70-day supply considered normal, industry figures show.

Last week, the UAW had threatened to strike GM's parts plant in Flint, Mich., unless negotiators moved quickly to settle the strike at Shreveport. The UAW said it wouldn't tolerate a lengthy strike at the truck plant.

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