9/25/07

Teamsters in solidarity with UAW

The United Auto Workers union strike against General Motors Corp. sent ripple effects throughout the Lansing region's auto industry. In addition to thousands of employees moving from the area's four working GM facilities to UAW picket lines, more could be idled at area auto suppliers.

And at GM dealerships, the clock is ticking on how long they will be able to keep some models in stock. "The biggest thing for us if it goes on very long is the mindset of GM employees and people who do business with GM employees if they hunker down and decide not to spend any more," said dealer Tony Young, of Young Chevrolet Cadillac in Owosso.

Spirits still high

So far, the strike hasn't dampened the spirits of area manufacturers who recently have been on a hiring spree, said Kate Tykocki, spokeswoman for Capital Area Michigan Works.

Staffing agencies recently have been looking for hundreds of workers to fill jobs at auto suppliers, defense contractors and other manufacturers.

"It's going to depend on how long it's going to take to come to a resolution," Tykocki said. "If this goes on for seven more hours, the reaction is very different than if it goes on for seven more weeks."

Automotive supplier Ryder Logistics told its truck drivers to leave GM properties shortly after 11 a.m.

Ryder gathers auto parts from other manufacturers and puts them in the correct sequence for assembly, then trucks the components to the GM plants in Lansing.

Initially, workers inside the Ryder warehouse were kept on the job after GM workers walked out.

"They kept us, but there hasn't been anything to do since 11," Ray Ross, 56, a GM retiree who now drives a truck for Ryder, said at about 1 p.m.

Workers don't report

By later Monday afternoon, Ryder had told its third-shift drivers not to report to work. Workers at Dakkota Integrated Technologies in Holt also reportedly faced temporary layoffs.

Many workers at suppliers clustered around GM's plant in Delta Township are represented by unions, including UAW Local 652 - which represents GM workers at Lansing Grand River and Lansing Regional Stamping - and Local 724.

At Young, the lot remains clear of the new Cadillac CTS, built at the Lansing Grand River plant. Getting any of the luxury cars that have been built from the plant to the showroom could prove difficult.

The Teamsters union said its 10,000 automotive transport members would not cross UAW picket lines to deliver GM cars and trucks.

"That hot product is kind of sitting on the shelf," Young said.

Plenty of cars on lot

At Saturn of Grand Ledge, dealer Sherrill Freeborough said she isn't in danger of running out of cars any time soon. But getting just the right car for a customer could quickly become a problem.

"Having exactly what people want is our big concern," she said. "We have a really good network of retailers that trade inventory, but I think people are going to be leery about doing that."

(lsj.com)

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