AUTO-PARTS SUPPLIER UAW, Lear Corp. discuss closing
Union members OK'd a contract to save money for the company in 2005..
By DON SHILLING
VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR
LORDSTOWN -- Talks over the proposed closing of a Lear Corp. plant in Lordstown are continuing, a union official said.
The Michigan-based auto parts supplier issued a 60-day plant closing notice Friday.
Jim Graham, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, maintains, however, that a closing would violate a 2004 agreement between the union and Lear. Local 1112 represents the 105 hourly workers at the plant as well as workers at the General Motors' car assembly plant in Lordstown.
Graham said national UAW officials are meeting with Lear officials in Detroit. Talks have been ongoing for three months.
Any action to be taken against Lear would be decided by the national union officials, Graham said.
"If Lear backs down on its agreement in Lordstown, its word would mean nothing throughout the entire country," he said.
Andrea Puchalsky, a Lear spokeswoman, left a voice mail that said business conditions forced the shutdown. She said it is part of a restructuring Lear announced a year ago.
She could not be reached again to address the 2004 commitment.
Union made concessions
Graham added that the union understood the plant's status was in jeopardy in early 2005, so union members approved a new labor contract that included money-saving measures for the company. Lear had said it would add work to the plant if costs were cut, he said.
No work was added, however, he said.
Lear used to supply seats to the Lordstown car plant for the Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire until those models were replaced by the Chevrolet Cobalt. Intier Automotive Seating won the seating contract for the new model.
An agreement between the UAW and the companies provided that Intier would take at least 175 Lear workers at its plant and Lear would keep 105 workers making other interior parts, such as door pads and headliners, through 2008, Graham said.
Puchalsky said the plant also has been making seats for the Pontiac Solstice.