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Workers return to jobs after one-day strike

May 14, 1997

WARREN, Ohio (AP) _ Electronics workers at a General Motors subsidiary returned to their jobs Wednesday after a tentative agreement ended a one-day strike largely over job security issues.

The agreement was reached early Wednesday between negotiators for the subsidiary, Delphi Packard Electrical Systems, and Local 717 of the International Union of Electronic Workers.

The company produces wiring harnesses, printed circuit boards, battery cables, ignition cables and other electronic parts that are used in nearly all GM vehicles and models of other car makers. It also makes parts for final assembly in Mexican plants, where Delphi Packard has about 40,000 employees.

About 8,500 workers at 17 plants and a distribution center in northeast Ohio went on strike early Tuesday.

The union said the strike was called over retirement benefits, pay for newer workers and job security, specifically the union’s fear of losing work to Mexican plants.

Details of the agreement were not released pending a vote by workers. The union had not yet scheduled meetings to provide its members with information about the settlement.

``We believe we’ve accomplished the major goals that we needed to do, and that is to provide job security to the members, and not to just a handful but for all of them. I believe the membership will see this is an agreement we all can live with,″ Local 717 shop chairman Bob Sutton said.

He said pension and retirement benefits also were improved.

The workers had rejected, by a 2-to-1 margin, a tentative agreement in March.

Terry Gruver, assistant shop chairman, said workers began reporting to their jobs with the 6 a.m. shift.

``It’s been kind of sporadic, though. We settled early this morning, so not everyone was aware of what happened right away. We are telling them as they call in about it and to report to work,″ he said.

Delphi Packard spokesman Jim Kobus said the agreement deals with ``job security and long-term commitments to our Ohio work force.″

The GM unit, which is the world’s largest producer of electrical wiring harnesses, maintains it must reduce costs to compete worldwide with its rivals.

``Our objective throughout this process was to avoid interrupting the supply line to our customers, and we have accomplished that,″ Kobus said.

Delphi Packard supplies parts not only for GM but for 20 automakers worldwide.

About 9,400 members of the United Auto Workers union have been on strike since last month in two separate walkouts at GM’s assembly plants in Oklahoma City and Pontiac, Mich.

A strike at two Dayton, Ohio, brake plants last year virtually halted GM’s North American production and cost the automaker $900 million before it was settled.

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