GM plant strike enters 2nd week progress seen


The strike by 3,200 workers at the General Motors Corp.'s Southeast Baltimore minivan assembly plant moved into its second week yesterday with the union reporting only slight progress in talks.

Rodney A. Trump, president of Local 239 of the United Auto Workers union, said there was "minuscule progress" at yesterday's short meeting of the union's and company's main negotiating teams.

"I'd call it a baby step [toward settlement]," he added.

It was the second consecutive day in which the union reported progress toward settlement. Without offering details, Mr. Trump said progress was also made at Friday's negotiating session.

"There was some movement by both sides, and that's promising," he said.

Terry Youngerman, personnel director at the GM plant and a member of the company's bargaining team, said yesterday that proposals were passed across the table during the half-hour meeting of the main bargaining teams. He said the company is in the process of evaluating them.

"Whether we are on the right or not track remains to be seen," he added. "Do you call that progress?" he asked rhetorically. "At least the dialogue is continuing. There has been no breakdown in talks."

Mr. Youngerman said he could not predict when a settlement might be reached. "We hope it will be very soon," he said. "These are trying times, not just for the negotiators, but our people who are on strike."

They are also difficult times for a number of other area companies that supply parts used in the assembly of the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari vans assembled at GM's Broening Highway complex.

Talks are scheduled to resume at 9:30 this morning.

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