UAW Approves Lordstown Agreement, Ends GM Strike
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) _ Members of a United Auto Workers local on Saturday approved an agreement ending a strike that had idled nearly 43,000 General Motors Corp. employees around the country and closed nine assembly plants.
About 98 percent of the 800 members who voted approved the deal, said Robert Hall, a member of the elections committee that counted the votes. Eighteen members voted against the pact, Hall said.
Representatives of GM and the 2,400-member local had reached tentative agreement on the pact early Saturday.
It ends a strike at GM’s Lordstown parts plant that began Aug. 27 when union workers walked off their jobs over such issues as job security, health, safety, hiring of non-union workers and GM’s plans to close a tool-and-die shop that employs 240 people.
The strike in turn closed nine General Motors assembly plants that ran out of parts, idling 42,900 people.
Linda Cook, a spokeswoman for GM, said full production at the northeastern Ohio plant resumed late Saturday night.
″They’ll work throughout the weekend to start getting these parts made and getting our assembly plants back to work,″ she said.
The agreement reached Saturday saves the 240 tool-and-die jobs and ensures that 160 vacancies at the plant will be filled by GM workers laid off elsewhere, said Dave Fascia, who headed the union negotiations.
About 140 new positions will be created through production of GM’s Saturn and J cars, he said.
Cook said GM will transfer the 240 tool-and-die jobs out of state but Lordstown workers will be retrained for other jobs or transferred.
Fascia said the agreement also covers health and safety issues, but didn’t elaborate.
Gerald A. Knechtel, vice president of personnel for GM North American Operations, praised the pact.
″After nine days of intense bargaining we and the UAW were able to reach an equitable solution to the local problem at the GM Lordstown Fabrication Plant,″ he said in a statement. ″The strike was unfortunate, but allowed us to resolve a number of key competitive local issues within that plant.″
He said the agreement doesn’t hurt the company’s plans for restructuring. GM announced last year it will close 21 plants and eliminate about 60,000 hourly positions in the United States and Canada by 1995.
Warren Davis, Region 2 director of the United Auto Workers, warned that the agreement may not end GM’s disputes with unions.
″I am sure that as General Motors continues to work at becoming more efficient and cost-effective, many local unions at other locations will have to repeat the lessons we taught GM here,″ he said in a statement. ″And we in the union in northeast Ohio will have to continue to pressure the corporation to remember that we will not allow them to sweat their business solutions out of their workers.″
The strike stopped parts production at the Lordstown plant, and because GM does not stockpile its parts, plants around the country ran out and had to shut down. Production of at least 14 models, including the popular Saturn, was halted.
The assembly plants that closed are located in Oklahoma City; Wentzville, Mo.; Flint, Mich.; Baltimore; Orion Township, Mich.; Spring Hill, Tenn.; Lansing, Mich.; Wilmington, Del.; and Lordstown.