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Workers Return to GM Lordstown Assembly Plant

April 16, 1996

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (AP) _ Some General Motors assembly plant workers reported for work today after a one-day wildcat strike but the automaker has asked a court to force stragglers to come back to work.

GM said it has asked U.S. District Court in Cleveland for an injunction to end the walkout.

The company also asked the court to order United Auto Workers Local 1112 to direct all of its employees to return to work immediately and ``cease any encouragement or inducement of the strike,″ said James R. Wiemels, vice president and general manager of GM’s small car group.

Production at the plant ground to a halt Monday when workers walked out three hours into the first shift of the day. Limited production resumed Monday night when some second-shift workers, ordered back to the plant by the union, reported for work.

GM spokesman Ray Deibel said more than half the first-shift workers reported today but production was still down significantly because of the absenteeism. He could not be more specific.

The union appealed today for remaining strikers to return to work.

``We again personally request that the membership return to work on their assigned crew shift,″ Local 1112 said in a statement signed by President Tony Zone and Al Alli, the shop chairman whose dismissal prompted the walkout.

``As soon as work resumes, management has agreed to meet on the many problems confronting our membership,″ the statement said.

The local represents about 5,500 active workers at the plant, which assembles Chevrolet Cavaliers and Pontiac Sunfires.

Since Lordstown is an assembly plant, the walkout would not have had the same impact as last month’s strike at two Dayton, Ohio, brake plants. That 18-day strike created parts shortages and shut down much of GM’s North American operations before it was settled March 22.

Earlier, Deibel had refused to say whether workers would be fired for the walkout.

The Tribune Chronicle of Warren reported that Alli was fired Saturday for improperly clocking out. Alli told the newspaper that he clocked out the same way he has for 20 years. Today, GM said in a statement that Alli had tried to get paid two years ago for time when he was actually out of town. It said he received a warning at that time, but that similar lapses had occurred in the past two months, which led to his firing.

Alli, the union’s lead negotiator, has been deadlocked in talks with Lordstown management over use of outside sources for the manufacture of some parts, staffing and health and safety issues.

He said last month he was considering whether to authorize a five-day strike notice.

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