GM Brake Plant Strike Idles 2 Assembly Sites

From Associated Press

A strike at two General Motors Corp. brake plants idled the first GM car assembly plants Thursday and threatened to slow or halt production at other operations of the nation's No. 1 auto maker.

Company executives said assembly plants in Wilmington, Del., and Oshawa, Canada, were forced to cease production. The plants together employ more than 9,000 workers.

GM said in a statement that the 6,500 workers at the Oshawa plant were told not to report to work until further notice. The plant makes Buick Regals and Chevrolet Luminas and Monte Carlos.

Raymond Deibel, a GM spokesman in Lansing, Mich., said second-shift employees at the Wilmington plant were sent home and the first shift was told not to report to work today. The plant, with about 2,650 workers, makes Chevrolet Berettas and Corsicas.

Company sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified, said two Michigan car assembly plants--one in Lansing, the other in Orion Township--might run out of parts by today.

Nearly 3,000 members of United Auto Workers Local 696 in Dayton went on strike Tuesday over safety and job security issues, including the production of parts by outside plants or companies.

The two GM Delphi Chassis plants supply brake parts and brake systems to nearly all of the auto maker's 29 assembly plants. A three-day strike at the plants two years ago idled five GM assembly plants in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.

A union official said the strike might soon be felt at GM's assembly plant in Oklahoma City.

GM spokesman Bob Vervink declined to comment.

An engine plant near Lansing that uses engine bearings supplied by the Dayton plants ceased production Wednesday. About 850 workers are employed at the plant, which makes engines for cars built at Lansing and Lordstown.

Ralph Shepard, president of UAW Local 652 at Lansing, said the workers do not like being laid off but support the Dayton strike.

"We understand the need to do it," Shepard said. "Our people would rather be working, but they understand sometimes you've got to do some things to make things right."

Contract talks at the Dayton plants were expected to resume late Thursday.

Local 696 has already allowed 300 of the striking workers to return to the job to make brakes for Los Angeles-based American Isuzu Motors Inc. and Detroit-based Chrysler Corp., the two non-GM companies the plants supply.

The union said it was trying to protect GM contracts with those companies and the jobs of those workers.

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