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GM, UAW reach agreement, avoiding strike

October 29, 1997

DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative agreement late Tuesday on a contract for workers at a plant that produces engine supplies for some high-profit cars.

The 1,300 members of a United Auto Workers local had threatened a strike at the Powertrain engine plant in a Detroit suburb if no agreement on a new local contract was reached by 11:59 p.m. EST Tuesday. The agreement was reached at just in time, said GM spokeswoman Marilynn Rowe.

``Certainly, we’re pleased that we were able to reach a tentative local agreement without a work stoppage,″ she said.

She declined to provide details of the agreement.

The agreement was reached moments after Reg McGhee, a UAW spokesman, announced that the UAW had agreed to continue talks past the strike deadline because the two sides were so close.

McGhee said earlier that contract talks centered on issues of staffing levels, health and safety and subcontracting.

The plant makes V8 engines for high-performance cars such as the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird. It also makes V6 engines for sport utilities such as the Chevrolet Blazer and GMC Jimmy.

A GM plant in Tonawanda, N.Y., also makes the sport utility engines, but the Romulus plant is the lone source of Corvette engines. A strike would have slowed production of the high-profit car, said Chris Cedergren, an analyst with Nextrend.

GM signed a national contract with the UAW last year. Local 163 has been without a contract since September 1996, making the Romulus plant the last GM production facility without a local contract.

GM has faced six strikes so far this year, four of them involving the UAW. Second-quarter strikes in Pontiac and Oklahoma City cost GM an estimated $490 million after taxes from lost production of 96,000 cars and trucks.

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