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UAW continues GM strike

POSTED: October 11, 2007 5:03 a.m.
DETROIT — The 1970 United Auto Workers’ strike against General Motors Corp. went on for 69 days and helped push the nation into a recession. This time, industry watchers predict the current strike will be a short one.
Both sides have something the other desires. The workers want job security. GM wants to make retiree health care a union burden. And that’s the stuff that agreements are made of.
“The UAW and GM understand that a strike is a lose/lose proposition,” Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache said Tuesday in a note to investors.
The two sides were back at the bargaining table Tuesday as workers walked the picket lines for a second day. Talks restarted Tuesday morning after bargainers ended a marathon, 36-hour session Monday evening, GM spokesman Dan Flores said. Analysts were encouraged that the talks have continued throughout the strike.
GM’s 73,000 UAW-represented employees walked off their jobs Monday after the union said GM failed to make promises for future products and investment in U.S. plants. GM said it was disappointed and would work with the UAW to address its competitive challenges.
“I’m hoping we get a fair contract. I understand that General Motors has their back against a wall. But I don’t want to give them everything,” said autoworker Ernie Bruton, who was picketing Tuesday a GM engine plant near Detroit.
Wall Street was taking a wait-and-see approach. GM shares slipped 32 cents, or less than 1 percent, to close at $34.42 Tuesday.
In 1970, the UAW’s strike against GM rippled through the economy. Production declined, unemployment rose and retail auto sales dried up, according to an analysis by Merrill Lynch. A 54-day strike against two GM plants in 1998 wreaked similar havoc and cost GM $2.2 billion.
This strike already is having an impact. On Tuesday, GM closed one plant in Canada and was considering closing a second. Auto supplier Delphi Corp., GM’s largest supplier, said Tuesday it was temporarily laying off workers.
 

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