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GM, UAW Strike Talks Go on; Issues Unresolved

From Reuters

General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers “still have work to do,” company and union representatives said late Monday, signaling that an end to a pair of strikes is not close.

“There’ll be no announcement tonight,” GM spokesman Bill O’Neill said shortly before midnight Eastern Daylight Time. “They have work to do; they’ll continue working tonight and they’ll be back working in the morning.”

Monday, one day after talks shifted into high gear, top-level GM and UAW bargainers met among themselves and with each other at a hotel outside of Flint, occasionally in the view of reporters in the lobby below.

Negotiations were also ongoing at the Flint Metal Center and Delphi East parts plants, which together have 9,200 UAW members on strike. The Flint Metal walkout, the longest of the two, stretched into its 54th day today.

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The strikes have cost GM more than $2 billion, analysts estimate, and idled 25 of its 29 North American assembly operations. Before two assembly operations were restarted Monday, the strikes forced the layoffs of almost 193,000 nonstriking North American workers.

UAW Vice President Richard Shoemaker, who said early Monday that significant issues remain to be solved, declined to comment on the talks in one informal session with reporters. UAW President Stephen Yokich also refused to discuss the bargaining.

Progress had been reported over the weekend, prompting GM to bring disputed stamping machinery back into the Flint Metal Center. It led to speculation that a settlement was around the corner.

That speculation was fueled again Monday afternoon when GM Chief Financial Officer J. Michael Losh was spotted leaving the talks. A broadcast report that North American Operations President G. Richard Wagoner was also present was inaccurate, O’Neill said.

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However, there were signs that progress was slow at the Delphi plants involved, company and union sources said, in particular at two Dayton, Ohio, plants that produce brake systems.

GM wants a settlement of the Flint strikes to also address ongoing disputes at the Dayton brake operations and a stamping facility in Indianapolis. In Dayton, for example, GM managers have said the unprofitable plants may be closed or sold if workers cannot agree to productivity improvements.


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