Saturday, November 27, 1999


Talks resume Monday at Lordstown GM plant

        Union leaders will return to the bargaining table Monday after production workers at the General Motors Corp. plant in Lordstown, Ohio, rejected a tentative agreement.

        The Lordstown plant, 13 miles northwest of Youngstown, is among GM's largest in terms of employment. The assembly plant has a work force of about 5,300.

        About 60 percent of the United Auto Workers members who voted late Wednesday rejected a four-year agreement.

        Workers are concerned that work will slow down at the Lordstown plant because GM has said it won't replace 440 workers who retired this year, said Jim Graham, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112. The company also plans to lay off 277 temporary employees Dec. 11.

        Mr. Graham, who supported the proposed contract, said he was disappointed by the results of the vote, which had a 95 percent turnout.

        Paul Emond, the plant's personnel director, said GM management was disappointed with the results of the vote.

        “We thought that we had put together a competitive agreement,” Mr. Emond said. “That agreement would have put us where we want to be in the small-car market.”

Guess? moving warehouse, packaging to Louisville
        Guess? Inc., which designs a line of upscale jeans, clothing and accessories, will move its warehouse and packaging operations from Los Angeles into a $36 million center in Louisville next year.

        Guess? was attracted to Kentucky because of the state's central location, within easy reach of such cities as Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit.

        “Being in the middle of the country, it will be easier for us and recipients to receive goods,” said Diane Busch, manager of lease administration for Guess?.

        The company also has its eye on store expansion in the southeastern United States.

        “... Frankly, we were under-representing ourselves there,” Ms. Busch said.

Letica closes plant earlier than planned
        A suburban Detroit plastics company has closed earlier than expected for its move to Kentucky.

        Letica Corp., which makes pails and shipping containers, shut down operations Wednesday, three weeks earlier than planned, said Kathy Willhite, a coordinator who was second in charge at the plant.

        Some employees were offered jobs at the new site in Fulton, Ky., but few accepted, Ms. Willhite told the Oakland Press of Pontiac.

        She is one of the 80 to 100 workers who are now out of a job.

        Letica has 13 manufacturing plants nationwide and reported 1998 revenues of $405 million, the newspaper said.

OSHA cites company in worker's fatal fall
        Federal officials have cited Dirt Devil Royal Appliance Manufacturing Co. of Cleveland for not having appropriate safety measures in place when an employee fell 30 feet and later died.

        Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials said the vacuum cleaner-making company did not provide proper training, inspect the work site and provide protection in case of a fall. OSHA issued a $19,800 fine against the company last week.

        An employee was doing routine maintenance Oct. 12 shortly before falling through a skylight and into the manufacturing area. He suffered head injuries and died five days later.


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