GM van hauler faces a strike by drivers today or tomorrow

August 16, 1994|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Sun Staff Writer

About 80 Teamsters drivers are set to strike one of the companies that haul the vans produced at the General Motors Corp. assembly plant on Broening Highway, a Teamsters official said yesterday.

John Clemens, president of Teamsters Local 557, said that months of negotiations with Leaseway Motor Car Inc. concerning changes in the current contract have reached a stalemate, and he predicted union members would set up picket lines at the GM plant later today or tomorrow.

The effect of the walkout on the East Baltimore plant's overall operations is unclear.

Mr. Clemens predicted that a strike by haulers would force GM to interrupt production, but Rodney A. Trump, president of the United Auto Workers local at the plant, said the company would likely continue producing vans until it filled its storage lots. Mr. Trump said GM could rent additional storage space outside the plant.

Linda Cook, a spokeswoman for GM truck platforms division in Pontiac, Mich., that oversees the Baltimore plant, said the automaker was aware of the discussions between Leaseway and the Teamsters, "and we are hopeful that they can get things resolved without any work stoppage."

She said representatives of Leaseway have indicated that an agreement is possible. Leaseway officials were not available for comment yesterday.

At issue, according to Mr. Clemens, are company demands that workers give up some holidays and agree to rules changes that could put them on the road for unspecified periods of time, perhaps even a month, before returning home again for a shipment of vans.

Mr. Clemens said workers have already agreed to more than $350,000 in annual wage concessions.

Although only about 80 Leaseway drivers are currently hauling the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari vans built at the Baltimore plant, about 200 workers are on layoff, Mr. Clemens said.

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