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GM Shuts Down 3 Major Plants As American Axle Strike Impact Widens

February 29, 2008
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General Motors is shutting production at its Fort Wayne, Flint and Oshawa truck assembly plants around midnight Friday, February 29, because of parts shortages caused by the United Auto Workers strike at American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., a GM spokesman confirmed Friday, February 29.

Fort Wayne, Indiana, employs about 2,700 workers, and Flint, Michigan, employs 3,200, said GM spokesman Tom Wickham. Oshawa, Ontario, employs 3,600. All three plants build Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

GM idled its Pontiac, Michigan, truck assembly plant earlier this week. Pontiac also builds pickups.

Wickham declined to speculate when the truck plant in Silao, Mexico, would be shut.

The president of UAW Local 276 in Arlington, Texas, stated on the union’s Web site today: “We will be one of the last facilities affected.”

“Plants other than Arlington will begin curtailing production beginning with tonight's night shift,” Enrique Flores said in the statement posted on the Web site.

Arlington could be shut by March 18, according to the report. Flores could not be reached immediately for further comment.

The first plant to shut down in the wake of the strike against American Axle was GM’s Pontiac plant, which halted production Thursday afternoon.

Arlington is about the only GM truck plant working overtime, according to the Automotive News Data Center. The plant builds the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV.

About 3,600 workers represented by the United Auto Workers at five American Axle plants in Michigan and New York went on strike early Tuesday in a contract dispute. The strike continued Friday. As of Thursday night, no talks had been scheduled.

American Axle had been using stockpiled parts to keep supplying GM and its other customers, although it appears those supplies are running out. The company makes axles, drive shafts and stabilizer bars.

GM accounts for about 80 percent of American Axle’s business, with 10 percent going to Chrysler LLC and the rest to other automakers.

Filed by Robert Sherefkin and David Barkholz or Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment please e-mail editors@workforce.com

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