Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Change Insulates GM Plant from Strike

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Change Insulates GM Plant from Strike

Article excerpt

Changing over to manufacture new compact cars has virtually insulated the General Motors Corp. assembly plant in Oklahoma City from a strike in Canada.

Four GM plants were idled Wednesday with Canadian workers threatening to expand the walk out to even more facilities within a week.

This strike, called primarily over GM's policy of contracting parts production with outside companies, comes at a bad time for the world's largest auto manufacturer. General Motors is staking most of its future on redesigned and new models that are scheduled to be launched over the next few weeks. The company plans a series of minivans and midsize and compact cars, called critical to GM's line-up. In Oklahoma City, plant officials and production employees have been undergoing training -- worth several millions of dollars -- over the past three years to prepare for the change over to the twin Chevrolet Malibu and Oldsmobile Cutlass. The complex had been producing the Cutlass Ciera and Buick Century midsize cars. "We really don't anticipate a major impact at this plant," said Personnel Manager Bob Vervinck. "Of course, next week, I expect to be able to give a better idea of where we stand." Even though the local plant operates under the just-in-time inventory delivery policy, even a fairly prolonged strike is not expected to impact it, Vervinck said. "We are not in a normal production mode, so we will not be impacted like the others are," he said. "We are still in the change over and expect to start accelerating (production) in the fourth quarter of this year (which began Tuesday)." The Oklahoma City plant employs about 5,000 workers. Although there have been reports of parts and components stockpiling in anticipation of a strike, Vervinck said, that wasn't the case in Oklahoma City. "Anything like that was done on the other end. …

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