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Oracle of Delphi

GM avoids strike at Malibu plant -- for now

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David Barkholz

Automotive News

April 22, 2008 - 4:28 pm ET

General Motors has won a two-day reprieve from a possible UAW local strike of its key Chevrolet Malibu assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan.

Officials at UAW Local 31 agreed to allow negotiations to extend into Thursday, April 24, before a decision is made whether to walk out, said Local 31 President Jeff Manning.

He said talks are progressing slowly. The 2,600 workers at GM's Fairfax assembly plant would not approve what GM is offering on some key issues, including seniority rights and job security.

The Fairfax plant makes about 3,100 of the hot-selling Malibu sedans a week. GM has only a 37-day supply of the cars on dealership lots. Malibu sedans also are made at GM's Orion Township assembly plant in suburban Detroit. That plant has a local agreement.

" We gave GM a great way to be profitable with our national agreement in September, but they're going for more in the local negotiations," Manning said.

GM and several UAW locals have locked horns over the slowness of plant-level contract negotiations. Only 10 of 77 GM locals have local agreements, which deal with work-rule, seniority and other noneconomic issues not detailed in the master national contract.

6 plants threatened

Six GM plants are under a strike threat over local bargaining issues. Workers at the Lansing Delta assembly plant near Lansing, Mich., have been on strike since late last week over their failure to get a local contract. The stoppage has interrupted production of the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook crossovers.

And the rank and file at a GM stamping plant in Parma, Ohio, rejected a local contract agreement Friday, April 18, that officials at UAW Local 1005 had sent them. Local 1005 President Tito Boneta said today that the local would schedule a general union meeting to hear why workers had rejected the tentative agreement 61 to 39 percent.

Boneta, who is running for re-election as local president May 6, said the union would regroup and probably return to negotiations with GM once the leadership had heard from members.

In addition to Lansing Delta, Fairfax and Parma, GM also is under a strike threat at its key transmission plant in the Detroit suburb of Warren, Mich., and stamping plants in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Mansfield, Ohio.

GM spokesman Dan Flores said GM continues to bargain in good faith to reach local agreements.

Aaron Bragman of Global Insight Inc. is among the auto analysts who earlier had suggested that the UAW was using pressure from local GM strikes to try to draw the automaker into strike talks at American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc.

Little effect on GM

That 2-month-old American Axle strike has hardly hurt GM. It has largely affected light-truck production -- slow-selling vehicles of which GM still has plenty in inventory.

That notion still has some credence, Bragman said. But the local contract defeat at Parma and the haphazard way that locals are warning of strikes has called into question how highly organized the UAW effort is.

" This may be about worker disaffection," Bragman said. " Workers were not thrilled about the national agreement, even though they approved it."

The national agreement contained huge money-saving concessions for GM. Those included a lower new-hire wage that will pay nonproduction workers half the $28 an hour earned by veteran workers as well as a restructuring of health care benefits.

Link: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti.../877638322/1128

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Having just dodged a major transit strike in Toronto (the mayor and his cronies gave the union EVERYTHING that they wanted, including AUTOMATIC wage increases if any of the surrounding cities should - gasp! - get paid more than them!), I am not in a particularly pro-union mood these days.

I mean, wouldn't it be nice to get sick days, paid birthdays off, full medical benefits, including unlimited glasses and dental? I just don't care what the unions want any more. Everyone else is tightening their belts and trying to live within their means, except them.

Asia is about to eat all of our lunches, and these guys just don't get it.

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All I know is there was a time when we needed Unions that time isn't anymore... If they were to strike do it in Cali were the Vibe is made. I hate the fact it is all Toyo underneath and inside because the outside is two sweet to get Toyo ruined every other area on the car.

Edited by gm4life

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I know a couple of people that work in the Orion plant. It irks me with their attitudes that GM "owes" them something. Get a clue that not everything in life should be handed to you. They have not even been in the UAW for 30+ years either, maybe at the most 2-5 years. They have that same brainwashed mentality that they instill. As far as I'm concerned I don't care if they are out of a job. I know that is harsh to say, but that is what you are there for - to do a job!

Edited by RJB

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