Indiana members join in UAW strike against GM

September 24, 2007
The United Auto Workers has launched a national strike against General Motors Corp., GM spokesman Dan Flores said today. It's the first nationwide strike during auto contract negotiations since 1976, when Ford Motor Co. plants were shut down.

Workers walked off the job and began picketing today outside GM plants after the 11 a.m. UAW strike deadline passed.

In Indiana, GM has 5,665 workers at four plants, including a stamping operation just west of downtown.

The UAW had extended its contract for nine days after it expired on Sept. 14, but the negotiations became bogged down yesterday, apparently over the union's quest to protect jobs by getting GM to guarantee that new vehicles would be built in U.S. factories.

The UAW hasn't called a nationwide strike during contract negotiations since 1976, when Ford Motor Co. plants were shut down. There were strikes at two GM plants during contract negotiations in 1996.

Charlie Coppinger, who has worked at GM's powertrain plant in Warren, Mich., for 31 years, walked the picket line along with a handful of others shortly after the deadline passed.

Coppinger, 51, said he hoped a strike could be settled quickly, but that union members were on the line to back the union and its bargainers.

"We're just here to support them," said Coppinger, who said leaflets were passed out indicating that the strike was on.

In Indiana, GM employs 934 at its metal stamping plant at 340 S. White River Parkway.

Another GM metal stamping operation is in Marion, where 1,265 work. GM also has a pickup truck assembly plant in Fort Wayne that employs 2,940 and a foundry in Bedford employing 526.

Last month, GM sold its Allison Transmission unit in Indianapolis to Carlyle Group, based in Washington, D.C., and Onex, of Toronto, for $5.6 billion. Allison employs 3,400 in Indianapolis.
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