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General Motors, Workers Reach Settlement to End Strike : Labor: The protest closed 13 assembly plants. Production of some of GM's best-selling models was halted.

August 26, 1994|From Associated Press

DETROIT — United Auto Workers union members approved a contract with General Motors Corp. on Thursday night to end a 2-day-old parts plant strike that shut down 13 assembly plants and idled nearly 43,000 workers.

The factories building some of GM's most popular vehicles had to close as they ran out of bumpers, exterior lights and light controls supplied by the plant, where 3,500 workers struck for two days.

Officials said the parts factory, GM's Inland Fisher Guide plant in Anderson, Ind., would resume operations with the third shift Thursday night.

GM officials did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment on the settlement pact.

The assembly plants closed by the strike build full-size pickups, the new Chevrolet Lumina and Monte Carlo and other models.

The strike began Tuesday after bargainers were unable to settle local issues, among them GM's transfer of work from the parts plant to outside contractors.

Union officials said that in the settlement they won a promise that the auto maker will continue making the same product lines at the parts plant through 1997.

"We were after the jobs, and that's what we got," said Ron Gettelfinger, the UAW's Region 3 director and chief negotiator.

The settlement wasn't likely to head off further assembly plant closings, since refilling the parts pipeline will take a couple of days.

The Anderson plant supplies most of the more than two dozen GM vehicle assembly plants in North America. As they shut down, their other suppliers of parts might also have had to close.

"We'd start shutting down in two or three days if the plants we sell to are down," said a vice president of one GM parts supplier with plants in several states and Mexico. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

GM makes most components at its own parts divisions. They, too, were likely to have closed if the strike had continued and additional assembly lines had been forced to shut down.

"It begins to hurt right away," said Joseph Phillippi, an automotive analyst with Lehman Bros. in New York.

Among the GM assembly plants closed by the strike:

* Flint Truck Assembly, Flint, Mich.; builds full-size Chevrolet and GMC vans; 4,500 employees.

* Ste. Therese at Boisbriand, Canada; Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird; 2,800 employees.

* Detroit-Hamtramck, Detroit; Cadillac Seville, Eldorado and DeVille; 4,500 employees.

* Orion Assembly, Lake Orion, Mich.; Oldsmobile 98, 88 and Aurora, Buick Riviera and Pontiac Bonneville; 4,500 employees.

* Buick City, Flint, Mich.; Buick LeSabre and Park Avenue, Oldsmobile 88 Royale; 4,200 employees.

* Oshawa No. 1, Oshawa, Canada; Chevrolet Lumina and Monte Carlo; 3,000 employees.

Workers from the closed plants were not eligible for the supplemental benefits they would get during a layoff. Had the strike continued, they could have applied for unemployment pay in the states where they live.

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