Official says local GM plant has enough parts

By Don Shilling

The uncertainty of Lordstown operations has delayed labor contract talks.

LORDSTOWN — A union official said he expects the General Motors’ Lordstown plant to have enough parts to continue running all of this week.

Ben Strickland, shop chairman for United Auto Workers Local 1112, added that he expects the plant will continue running beyond that as well.

Operations of the plant have been threatened for weeks because it uses a brake spindle produced by American Axle, whose plants have been shut down by a UAW strike since Feb. 26.

Local 1112 had said the Lordstown plant could be shut down because of a parts shortage two weeks ago. GM found enough brake spindles to keep operations going, however.

Strickland said he will no longer predict possible shutdown dates because the supply seems to be continuing. GM isn’t talking about where it buys parts from.

Strickland said he has asked UAW officials in Detroit to try to determine the source of parts needed in Lordstown.

The American Axle strike has hindered production at 29 GM plants. Most of the plants that have been affected are those that make pick-up trucks and sport-utility vehicles and component plants that supply the assembly plants.

Strickland said that negotiations on a local labor contract in Lordstown have been put on hold while company and union officials work on keeping the plant operating. The most recent negotiation session was last week.

Earlier this month, locals at five other GM plants threatened to file strike notices over talks that had bogged down.

While a national labor contract was settled last year, most local negotiations have not been completed. The national contract covers pay and benefits, while local contracts cover plant-specific issues, such as work rules.

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