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GM LORDSTOWN Pact targets location of work



Published: Thu, August 23, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Union officials in Detroit stepped in to force GM to decide about Lordstown, a local leader said.

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

LORDSTOWN -- Talk of moving work out of the Lordstown Assembly Plant will stop under a new agreement between General Motors and union officials.

No work will leave the plant unless GM commits to a renovation of the plant, under an agreement between GM and United Auto Workers officials in Detroit, said John Mohan, shop chairman for UAW Local 1112.

What was discussed: GM had been talking about moving two departments with about 190 jobs out of the plant to create space so the plant could be reconfigured. Two Michigan companies had received local tax abatements to create local plants that would take over departments that prepare motors and tires.

Mohan said those plants will be put on hold by this agreement.

Mohan said UAW officials in Detroit were uncomfortable with the outsourcing of work without a commitment to the plant renovation.

"The international union took a stand to try to force an agreement for Lordstown," Mohan said.

Possible upgrade: GM is considering spending about $500 million to upgrade the plant to make GM's next generation of small cars. It is considering moving some departments out of the plant because it wants to reconfigure the plant and maintain production during construction. The plant, which employs about 5,000 people, makes the Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire.

Mohan said local plant and union officials are finished preparing their proposal for the plant. He said he is hoping the GM board of directors approves the renovation in October.

Tom Mock, a spokesman at the Lordstown plant, didn't want to comment directly on the outsourcing agreement but said union and company officials are continuing to work out all concerns related to the proposed renovation.

Mohan said it's still possible that no departments would be moved outside the plant during the renovation. The movement of departments depends on which of four renovation options GM selects, he said.

Allowed in contract: The national UAW labor contract allows GM to move departments out of plants but provides a bidding procedure for the local union to try to retain the work. GM must submit a cost proposal, then the union has time to develop one to try to keep the work.

Mohan said the union wasn't able to retain the motor and tire work because of floor space issues related to the remodeling. It's possible, however, that GM would need less floor space, which would give the union a chance to retain the work, he said.

Even if that work leaves, the union is hoping it can regain the work if the plant is renovated, he said.

In June, Oakley Industries received a tax abatement from Trumbull County commissioners to build a plant in Lordstown. Workers were to mount and balance tires on vehicles built at the Lordstown car plant.

In May, county commissioners approved a tax abatement for Android Industries to set up a plant in Vienna. The plant would receive engine blocks, add components such as alternators and hoses and ship the completed engine to the car plant.

shilling@vindy.com




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