UAW union in Ohio seeks OK for strike Slow GM contract talks upset local in Dayton

October 09, 1997|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

DETROIT -- The United Auto Workers union in Dayton, Ohio, says it's frustrated by lack of progress at contract talks at two key parts plants and will ask union headquarters in Detroit to authorize a strike.

UAW Local 696, which represents workers at GM's two Delphi Chassis Systems brake-parts plants in Dayton, crippled GM's North American car and truck production in March 1996 when it went on strike for 17 days.

Union leaders circulated a newsletter Tuesday to workers at the plants, saying it would ask UAW Vice President Richard Shoemaker "to seriously consider" issuing a five-day strike notice to GM. A five-day letter warns the company that a strike deadline has been set.

"It appears Delphi Chassis is unwilling to address the job security concerns of this local membership," the letter said.

The Dayton talks are among the most sensitive of the handful of local contract negotiations now under way. GM and the UAW reached settlements at all but about five of the 105 UAW locals over the last year.

The Dayton talks began about 15 months ago and intensified in the past two months.

The 2,800 workers make brake parts for nearly all of GM's cars and trucks. The walkout last year shut down most of GM's assembly plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico and cost the automaker $900 million in lost profits.

GM wants to consolidate the Dayton plants into one because they aren't meeting profit targets. "That site has to be combined," Delphi President J. T. Battenberg said in an interview last month. Delphi is moving to improve its financial performance by shedding businesses that aren't profitable. Last month, it said it was selling three business that were losing money or marginally profitable.

Battenberg said he was hopeful that a strike could be avoided, and a GM spokesman repeated that view yesterday.

"We are continuing to meet and are still hopeful we can provide an agreement that meets the needs of our work force and improves the competitiveness of the plants," said Jim Hagedon, a Delphi Chassis spokesman in Dayton.

UAW Local 696 officials declined to comment, and a spokesman for UAW headquarters in Detroit didn't return phone calls.

A separate union, International Union of Electrical Workers Local 801, voted to authorize a strike at the Delphi Harrison Thermal Systems plant in Dayton.

Pub Date: 10/09/97

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