GM workers in Mich. ratify local contract to end strike

Saturday, May 17, 2008

LANSING, Mich. — A striking United Auto Workers local at a key General Motors Corp. factory ratified a new contract with the company Friday afternoon and will resume production on Monday.

UAW Local 602 said on its Web site Friday that its members voted 73.5 percent in favor of the new deal. It will end a strike that began April 17 at the Delta Township plant near Lansing that makes the Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia.

About 3,300 workers work at the factory making the popular crossover vehicles. Some will return to work as early as Saturday.

GM and the UAW reached a national contract agreement last fall, but local unions negotiate work rules and other issues. A UAW local at a plant in Kansas City, Kan., remains on strike. That strike began May 5.

The new four-year deal includes a $2,000 payment to production workers and $2,500 to skilled trades workers for the successful launch of the three products, which have been selling well for GM as buyers move away from truck-based sport utility vehicles.

The Delta Township factory is the only one that makes the crossovers, and industry analysts have said the strike was aimed at getting GM involved in a bitter 80-day strike against American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc.

GM last week agreed to chip in $200 million toward ending that strike, which continued on Friday.

But Local 602 President Doug Rademacher said the strike was about local contract issues governing work rules, overtime and other items and had nothing to do with American Axle. He said the reason it lasted for nearly a month was because it is the first local contract at the new factory.

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