Crossposted on Uniongal
Workers Walk Off Job at Lansing GM Assembly Plant
By Sharon Terlep
The Detroit News
Thursday 17 April 2008
Lansing - United Auto Workers walked off the job at General Motors Corp.'s Delta Township plant when a 10 a.m. deadline passed with no deal on a local contract.
The walkout started at about 10:15 a.m. with dozens of vehicles streaming out of plant gates. Some workers picketed the plant with signs as passing motorists signaled support.
UAW officials have not specified the local contract issues in dispute. In addition to the overarching UAW contract reached last fall with Detroit's Big Three automakers, most UAW locals are still negotiating plant-level deals.
Doug Rademacher, president of UAW Local 602, which represents workers at the Lansing plant, said talks have broken off and that he didn't know when they will resume.
He dismissed speculation that the strike is part of a UAW strategy to draw GM into the lengthy labor dispute with partsmaker American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. The UAW walked off the job at American Axle plans Feb. 26.
Rademacher said workers at the Delta plant have been working under a contract put in place in 1999 when GM built the factory. The contract, he said, was intended to give GM flexibility to get the factory running, but was never supposed to be a long-term labor agreement. The UAW planned to get a plant-level contract in place for Delta after last fall's national negotiations, he said.
This workforce deserves respect," he said. "We changed our culture to work with the company. We need a local agreement."
The Delta plant is critical for GM because it builds the automaker's popular crossovers, the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave.
The overall article is interesting in that it mentions the American Axle strike, but doesn't really address why that's important here. There's simply only a mention.
So, let's take a look at it. What GM cars have been affected by the 52 day American Axle strike. So far, we're looking at:
• GMC Acadia,
• Saturn Outlook
• Buick Enclave
• Chevy Malibu
• Chevy Cobalt
• Pontiac G5
• Chevy Silverado
• GMC Sierra
• Buick Lucerne
• Cadillac DTS
And these are only the models named. Most are listed as "GM light trucks", "Cadillac" vehicles as well as "SUV". Pretty generic names that really are more likely on the lines of Escalade, Vibe, Cadillac, Saturn VUE and many others.
So, what exactly does this all mean to American Axle. Well, it means the loss of GM work.
The five week-old strike at American Axle is finally starting to wear on GM, and the General has decided to move a small but crucial parts contract over to rival supplier Dana to help get its truck plants moving again. The 30,000-unit prop shaft contract for light pickups is considered a small deal, but the fact that GM is beginning to move on shows that the strike, which began on February 26, is beginning to take its toll on the giant automaker. The move is going to anger the striking workers, but it will also likely help get American Axle management back at the bargaining table.
It did bring Dick Dauch and his son Dick Dauch, back to the table in early April, but it’s now day 52 of the strike and more plants are being idled as GM runs out of parts for some of their best selling brands.
But what about the workers in Delta Township who now have no local contract in place for their plant? Well, it looks as if it's a waiting game. I suppose it is also a waiting game for even more workers:
A UAW local at a GM transmission plant in Warren, Mich., has a strike deadline set for Friday morning. And a union local at a GM stamping plant near Grand Rapids, Mich., issued a warning to the auto maker that it may strike if progress isn't made on its local agreement.
I wonder if the steelworkers in Van Wert are doing any better in their negotiations from their lock out than American Axle workers are doing in their strike. Somehow, the greed of these corporate goons makes me think, it's just not the case.