GM Ohio strike idles hundreds from Md. Del. plant halts work, affecting northeast Md.

March 08, 1996|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

The strike by workers at two General Motors Corp. brake plants in Dayton, Ohio, is forcing the closing of two auto assembly plants, including one in Wilmington, Del., and threatens production at the company's Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari van assembly plant in Baltimore.

The Wilmington plant, which employs 2,000 workers, "began sending its people home at 6: 15 p.m.," Gerald Holmes, a GM spokesman in Warren, Mich., said last night.

The employees include several hundred from northeastern Maryland. The Wilmington plant produces Chevrolet Berettas and Corsicas.

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

"We are good into the first part of next week, but after that things are pretty uncertain," said Rodney A. Trump, president of United Auto Workers Union Local 239, which represents the Baltimore plant's 3,100 hourly workers. "We can get through both shifts on Monday, but we don't know how much longer we can run," Mr. Trump said. "I'm already beginning to make arrangements for our people to get their unemployment benefits."

Supply officials at the Broening Highway plant are scheduled to take an exact count on how many parts are in stock or are in the pipeline early Monday morning.

In addition to supplying brakes, the two Delphi Automotive Systems plants in Dayton produce some engine and transmission parts.

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

The plants produce brakes for almost all GM cars and trucks, and some used in Chrysler Corp. and Isuzu Motors Ltd. vehicles.

The company and union agreed yesterday to send about 300 workers back into the plants to continue production for the non-GM customers, who purchase a small percentage of the plants' output.

A three-day strike two years ago at the Dayton plants closed six GM assembly plants for up to a week and cut about 13,000 cars and trucks from production. The Baltimore plant was within hours of closing when the strike was settled.

The impact of a shutdown of the GM plant -- the city's largest manufacturing employer -- would be felt beyond the Broening Highway complex.

The van plant operates under a so-called just-in-time inventory system that uses a number of local suppliers for its parts.

At least a half-dozen companies, including Monarch Manufacturing Inc. in Belcamp and Marada Industries Inc. in Westminster, produce parts for the vans and make deliveries to the Broening Highway plant several times a day.

When van production was halted before, some local suppliers were forced to either slow or stop their production and lay off workers.

Pub Date: 3/08/96

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