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Negotiations Continue in UAW Strike of Electronics Plant

November 18, 1986

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) _ The effect of a strike by 7,700 members of the United Auto Workers against Delco Electronics, a General Motors subsidiary, will show up first in car assembly plants, said a spokesman for the electronics plant.

″We don’t have a stockpile″ of inventory, said Bill Draper, Delco director of public relations. He said the impact of the walkout could be felt, particularly for electronic parts, in a matter of days. The Kokomo facility is the sole supplier of those parts.

Negotiations were to resume today in Kokomo and be move to Detroit Wednesday. The walkout began Monday after a dispute between company officials and leaders of UAW Local 292 over transferring some work to Mexico.

Delco Electronics, the city’s largest employer, has about 11,000 people at its Kokomo plant - 7,700 represented by the UAW and the rest salaried. It is the plant’s first strike in 16 years.

GM spokesman John F. Mueller in Detroit, asked if a long strike would lead to assembly line shutdowns, said: ″That remains to be seen what the effect would be on vehicle production at General Motors. I would not want to speculate ... but we believe it could be serious.″ Mueller refused to give details.

Local union officials had no comment beyond a brief statement by shop chairman Mike Thayer, who said the unit was ″trying to protect the integrity of the bargaining unit and future jobs for Kokomo.″

Delco spokeswoman Marilyn Grant said, ″We’re terribly disappointed that the negotiations were not successful.″ The 3,000 salaried workers would remain on the job, but production at the plant had ceased, she said.

The plant supplies radios and other electronic devices such as heat or air controls, including a key part of the engine system, the electronic control module, which controls engine function, Draper said.

The local was notified on Oct. 3 by GM that some of its radio production work would be transferred to a plant in Mexico in August 1987. Also at issue was a separate disagreement over the subcontracting of some maintenance and skilled tool-and-die jobs to non-union workers, according to UAW spokesman Reg McGhee in Detroit.

McGhee said the transfer of work to Mexico would affect about 2,000 Kokomo workers, but Delco says the number of jobs affected would be about 600. About 50 jobs are involved in the subcontracting dispute, McGhee said.

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