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Tentative deal reached to end GM FairFax plant( makes Aura and Malibu) strike

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GM has reached a deal on the local contract with UAW Local 31 at the plant Tuesday evening , company spokesman Dan Flores said.

We're certainly pleased that we have a tentative agreement , Flores said. "Obviously , Malibu and Aura are very important products for us."

Industry analysts have said the strike in Kansas City and one at a key crossover vehicle plant in Delta Township ,Michigan(the Lambda's) were designed to draw GM into a long , bitter strike by the UAW against parts maker American Axle. Union officials , including UAW President Ron Gettelfinger , denied any connection and said the strikes were over local contract disputes.

The UAW and American Axle reached a tentative agreement Friday , and several local voted Monday to approve the pact. A large local in Detroit votes Thursday.

Production resumed Monday at the Delta Township plant after workers ratified a tentative agreement reached May 15.Full article here

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Fairfax strike ends; workers return

May 22, 2008 10:21 AM ET

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Union employees at the General Motors Corp. Fairfax Assembly Plant approved a new local contract late Wednesday and headed back to work at 6 a.m. Thursday.

The new agreement was approved by 85 percent of United Auto Workers Local 31's production workers and 88 percent of its skilled trade workers, a union official said. The approval ends the strike by the plant's roughly 2,600 union members, which started May 5.

"Obviously we're pleased that the new agreement was ratified and is in place now, and that we can put this chapter behind us and get everyone back to work building some very important products for us," GM corporate spokesman Dan Flores said.

The Fairfax plant makes the Chevy Malibu, one of GM's strongest selling vehicles, and the Saturn Aura, as well as hybrid versions of each.

Flores said that no plan is in place to catch up on lost production but that management plans to discuss possible options with the union.

The two sides worked out terms of a local contract to replace one that had expired in September. Although a national contract between GM (NYSE: GM) and the UAW concerns issues such as wages and benefits, the local contract covers issues specific to the Fairfax plant.

Local 31 President Jeff Manning has said that the main issue of contention was management not wanting seniority to play a role in job placement and shift preference.

According to highlights of the agreement posted on the Local 31 Web site, the tentative agreement addresses those concerns, ensuring seniority by classification and craft. Team members can pick a job based on seniority, but GM can temporarily reassign employees for training or assistance within the team, or if potential loss of production exists in another team.

The strike had caused some supplier layoffs. Faurecia Automotive Seating's Riverside plant laid off all its hourly workers on the strike's first day. A company spokesman said that the plant's first shift returned to work Thursday morning and that its second shift will return Thursday afternoon, which will account for all 160 employees who were laid off.

Inteva Products LLC, formerly Delphi Interiors and Closures, temporarily laid off about 90 of the roughly 100 employees at its North Kansas City plant. Spokeswoman Misty Matthews said Thursday that all the plant's employees are back to work.

Penske Logistics, which receives and delivers automotive components to the plant, laid off 92 hourly workers the day the strike began. A company official couldn't immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

The Fairfax Assembly Plant ranks No. 15 on the Kansas City Business Journal's list of area private-sector employers, with 2,700 employees.

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