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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 17, 1998
1:00 PM
CONTACT:  United Auto Workers

UAW Statement Regarding Talks at Locals 659 and 651
 
FLINT, MI - June 17 - UAW Vice President Richard Shoemaker, who directs the UAW GM Department, issued the following statement about negotiations in Flint, Michigan:

“We are glad to hear that GM is at least saying that they would be willing to meet around the clock to settle the unresolved issues at Locals 659 and 651. More importantly, we hope that they are finally prepared to come to negotiations with the resolve to settle health and safety, subcontracting, production standards issues, grievances and GM’s unmet commitments that are at the heart of these disputes.

GM is only complicating and prolonging these strikes by repeated attempts in the media to shift the focus of negotiations from specific local union issues and GM’s failure to live up to existing agreements and commitments. GM’s media posturing does not address the issues that are on the table and does not contribute in any way to the speedy resolution of the strikes.

This strike need not have happened. We are disappointed that GM forced this strike by not addressing these issues months ago, prior to the strike and five day letters. At this stage, blaming the local unions for GM’s failure to address the strikeable issues many weeks ago is counter-productive.

GM’s claim that they are committed to investing in their American operations is belied by their actions. They continually threaten our locals with being sold or outsourced out of existence. They make commitments to invest and, as in the case of Local 659, they renege on these commitments in lieu of new demands that were not part of their original commitments. The end result is the same, America and communities like Flint, come last in their strategy.

The UAW and our bargaining teams at Local 659 and Local 651 remain committed to reaching settlements of the unresolved health and safety, sub-contracting, production standards issues and GM’s unmet commitments. The UAW bargaining teams at both locals are available to meet around the clock to address the specific issues on the bargaining table. We urge the company to spend more time on negotiations and less on public posturing.

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