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GM Closing Parts Plant After Sale Aborted

August 4, 1987

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) _ General Motors Corp. says it will close its automotive parts plant in this northeast Ohio community because plans to sell it to Johnson Controls Inc. have fallen through.

GM’s Fisher Guide plant, with about 2,000 employees, is the largest employer in the city of 57,000.

Johnson Controls backed out of the sale after United Auto Workers Local 780 failed to meet one of the two conditions set by the company.

R. Eugene Goodson, vice president for automotive operations for Johnson Controls, said his company will not buy the plant because union member did not set a contract ratification vote for before Aug. 16.

″We regret that Johnson Controls has terminated the agreement to buy the plant,″ GM said in a statement on Monday. ″In line with our strategic business objectives, we will phase out the Elyria facility. Planning for the closure of the plant is now under way.″

Fisher Guide spokesman Charles Oyerly in Detroit said he did not know how long it will take to close the facility, but ″we are not going to attempt to sell the plant to another buyer.″

″I am very disappointed, very disappointed,″ Goodson said. ″I wanted this deal to go through very much. I spent a lot of my own personal time on this effort - weekends, holidays and nights. We wanted this to happen.″

GM put the plant up for sale to improve its competitiveness, and Johnson Controls agreed to buy the plant in May. Johnson Controls said the purchase was contingent on the negotiation of a labor agreement by last Friday.

Negotiations never began because the union delayed seeking authorization from the membership until GM and Johnson Controls officials answered questions about the purchase.

After the union said it would meet Sunday to vote on bargaining, Johnson Controls agreed to extend its deadline, but only if the union agreed to have a ratification vote by Aug. 16.

The union voted Sunday to enter into negotiations but overwhelmingly rejected a motion to set a date to ratify the labor agreement, said Local 780 Presiden Larry Tanner said.

″No way. The committee won’t accept that,″ Tanner said. ″There’s too little time - that’s their deadline, not ours.″

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