Official of UAW hints at progress in strike talks


The strike by 3,200 autoworkers against General Motors Corp.'s Southeast Baltimore minivan assembly plant enters its 17th day this morning with a slight hint that a settlement may not be far down the road.

Following yesterday's negotiating session, Rodney A. Trump, president of Local 239 of the United Auto Workers, said there was some indication that movement will occur on both sides when talks resume at 9:30 this morning.

Mr. Trump declined to elaborate. He also cautioned against striking workers becoming overly optimistic for fear that they might be disappointed.

On Monday, representatives of the UAW's international office joined in the negotiations taking place inside the idle assembly plant.

Officials of GM's Truck and Bus Group in Detroit also were present.

Workers at the city's largest manufacturing concern walked off the job June 24 to protest what they claim are unsafe working conditions.

Workers and the union claim that when GM laid off 400 plant employees in February, it forced some of those still on the job to work harder to take up the slack.

This, they say, has resulted in a record number of injuries over the past four months.

The company has taken exception to the union's claims of excessive injuries.

Terry Youngerman, a company spokesman, said last week that injuries went up slightly during the first five months of the year, compared with the same period last year, "but it was nothing alarming. We are proud of the safety and health record at this facility."

Mr. Youngerman said that productivity is the issue in the strike.

The company is seeking to boost production of the plant here to match that of other minivan plants in the United States and in Ja- pan.

Officials of the Broening Highway plant could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Baltimore plant produces the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari minivans.

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