GM strike issue settled another set up for today


The strike by production workers at the General Motors Corp. minivan assembly plant in Southeast Baltimore ended its 10th day yesterday with few more slightly encouraging signs that the two sides may be coming closer.

Rodney A. Trump, president of Local 239 of the United Auto Workers Union, which represents the plant's 3,200 striking hourly workers, said the two sides reached an agreement on one issue at yesterday's hour-long session and will probably reach an agreement on another issue when they meet again at 9:30 this morning. Mr. Trump declined to identify the two issues.

Terry Youngerman, a member of the company's negotiating team, said that the issue resolved yesterday "was not a major item, but it was one that needed to be resolved" before the strike can be ended.

Mr. Trump said the union is looking for a speedy settlement, but he noted that there are probably another half-dozen issues that still need to be addressed.

One of the major issues is the complaints by employees that they are being overworked as a result of the company elimination of about 400 jobs back in February.

There has only been slight progress on this front, Mr. Trump said.

The union has said that the company eliminated too many jobs for workers to safely perform their duties. As a result, the union claims, injuries have risen about 10 times the normal rate since February.

Yesterday, GM broke its silence on the union's safety-related accusations. Mr. Youngerman said the "company is proud of its safety and health record at the facility."

He said that company records show only a slight increase in the number of injuries during the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year.

Mr. Youngerman said he did "not want to get into a numbers game," but stressed that there was "nothing alarming" about the increase in job-related injuries.

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