Baltimore GM plant to face shutdown sometime today Parts running out

effects of Ohio strike continue to radiate

March 12, 1996|By TED SHELSBY | TED SHELSBY,SUN STAFF

The General Motors Corp. van assembly plant on Broening Highway the city's largest manufacturing employer is expected to shut down later today, a victim of the seven-day strike against two GM brake plants in Dayton, Ohio.

"We think we have enough parts to make it through the first shift, but it's going to be close," Renee Peters, a spokeswoman for GM, said of the outlook at the Baltimore plant, which employs 3,100 workers.

Ms. Peters said the company does not anticipate starting the second shift. That could change if, for some reason, there is a slowdown in production of Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari vans during the first shift and there are enough parts left over to start the second.

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

Managers of three local parts suppliers said they will be forced to alter production and lay off their own workers if the strike is not settled by the end of the week.

"A shutdown of GM has a direct effect on us," said Jeff Testerman, manager of the Monarch Manufacturing Inc. plant in Belcamp. "When they shut down, we shut down. We are on the same schedule."

Monarch produces the dashboards and consoles that hold the glove box, ashtray and cup holders used in the vans. The Monarch plant employs 115 workers, and the Baltimore van plant accounts for its full production.

"We will try to keep our people working as long as possible," said Mr. Testerman. "They will do some cleaning and painting [of the factory].

"But we don't have unlimited financial resources, and my guess is that if this strike is not ended by the end of the week we will be forced to start laying off people early next week. There are some innocent people getting caught up in this labor dispute." Two other area plants could be forced to follow Monarch's lead.

Dan L. Quickle, a production supervisor at Marada Industries Inc. in Westminster, said that plant will continue running at its normal schedule the next two or three days to build up its inventory of the structural parts it makes for Honda and other GM plants.

"We won't be laying off anybody at this time," Mr. Quickle said, "but early next week we will have to look at that possibility on a day-by-day basis." Marada has 260 workers.

The situation is much the same at the Johnson Controls Inc. van seat manufacturing plant in Belcamp.

"We will keep on working until the end of the week," said M. Dennis Sisolak, manager of the plant that employs 260 people.

"But early next week, we will begin our liberal-leave policy. We will ask people to take vacation or volunteer for layoff."

So far, the strike by nearly 3,000 members of United Auto Workers Local 696 in Dayton has caused the idling of 14 assembly plants producing a wide variety of cars ranging from the Chevrolet Cavalier to the company's top-of-the-line Cadillac, and an assortment of the company's hot-selling pickups and sport utility vehicles.

It also has forced the closing of two other parts plants. The total number of GM workers affected by the strike topped 50,000 yesterday when GM closed its Buick City plant in Flint, Mich., that makes the Buick LeSabre and Park Avenue. The 6,000 workers at GM's Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., will continue to report for training and other duties, according to a Saturn spokeswoman.

Last week, the Chevrolet Corsica and Beretta assembly plant in Wilmington, Del., which employs 2,000 workers, including several hundred from northeast Maryland, was closed.

If the strike continues, analysts say, it could just about bring GM's vehicle production to a halt by the end of the week. Should that occur, it could cost the nation's biggest automaker about $250 million a week in lost profits, David Healy, an analyst with Burnham Securities, said yesterday.

According to the union officials, the strike is over safety and job security. The union wants the company to hire 125 new workers and limit its purchases of parts from outside suppliers.

Michael McCurdy, a GM spokesman in Dayton, said no formal talks were held yesterday and none are scheduled today. He said some informal talks were taking place.

At the Broening Highway plant, second-shift workers were told to be prepared to work later today, but to listen to WBAL radio for any announcement about who should or shouldn't report to the plant.

GM asswmbly plants closed by strike

General Motors Corp. assembly plants idled since a strike at two GM Delphi Chassis brake plants in Dayton, Ohio:

Plant......... ..... Workers.....What it does

Flint, Mich.... .... 3,100.......Produces Buick LeSabre and Park

................Avenue

Hamtramck, Mich.. .. 3,100.......Produces Cadillac, Seville,

.................. ..............Eldorado

................. ...............and Deville

Fort Wayne, Ind.. .. 1,800.......Produces Chevrolet CK pickup

..............and GMC Sierra

Lansing, Mich... ... 6,000.......Produces Buick Skylark,

.............. ..................Oldsmobile Achieva, Pontiac Grand

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.