Negotiations break down in 23-day strike at GM minivan plant

July 17, 1991|By Ted Shelsby 8

Talks aimed at ending the 23-day strike at the General Motors Corp. minivan assembly plant on Broening Highway broke off yesterday, but both sides are reluctant to say they are at an impasse.

"We're meeting internally to reassess our position," said Terry Youngerman, a spokesman for GM, explaining the lack of face-to-face talks with representatives of the United Auto Workers Local 239, which represents the approximately 3,200 striking plant workers. "The fact that we are not meeting today is not significant."

He explained that the companyneeded time to "look for some different twists or turns" that could lead to a breakthrough in negotiations.

Rodney A. Trump, president of the union local, declined to comment when asked if talks had reached an impasse. He said that the union was waiting for a call from the company indicating that it was ready to move forward on the key issue of safety at the plant.

Both sides said that no talks are scheduled for today, but this could change at any time. Mr. Trump said that both sides are on call and negotiations could be resumed on short notice.

"Oh, no," was the reaction of Dan L. Quickel to news that the talks hadbeen halted. Mr. Quickel is assistant general manager of Marada Industries Inc., a company in Westminster that makes bumper and frame components used in the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari vans made at the Baltimore plant.

Mr. Quickel said that Marada had to ask for voluntary layoffs among its 180 workers as a result of a halt in orders from its biggest customer. Other workers, he said, have taken vacation.

Other GM suppliers in the metropolitan region, including Monarch Manufacturing Inc. and Johnson Controls Inc., both in Belcamp, have been forced to lay off workers as a result of a shutdown of production atthe van assembly plant since June 24.

When asked if he was hopefulthat talks would resume again, Mr. Youngerman responded: "Oh sure, but I just don't know when."

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