FLINT, Mich., June 9 -- A United Auto Workers official is throwing cold water on hopes of a quick end to a strike at a key General Motors Corp. stamping plant in Flint. The strike by 3,400 UAW members at the Flint Metal Center has forced GM to shut down assembly lines and idle 16,000 workers in several states and Canada. UAW Local 659 Vice President Norm McComb tells United Press International today 'not one single issue' has been settled by union and GM negotiators since the walkout began five days ago. McComb said, 'They're meeting, but it's pretty fruitless at this point.' GM spokesman Pete Ternes declined to characterize the progress or lack of progress at the bargaining table except to say: 'They're still talking. We're hoping they're working toward a resolution.' The stamping plant makes fenders, hoods, engine cradles and other components needed to build GM vehicles. Up to 17 GM assembly plants and numerous GM-Delphi Automotive Systems component factories in North America could be affected by the strike's ripple effect. The latest plant affected is the Flint Truck assembly plant in Flint, where 1,810 workers have been sent home today. In addition GM has idled 4,600 employees at a Oshawa, Ont., car plant, and 210 workers who make seats at a Delphi Interior & Lighting Systems plant in Auburn Hills, Mich. Also shuttered are the Orion ('OR-ee-ahn') car assembly plant in suburban Detroit; the Buick City car complex in Flint; the Moraine, Ohio, sport-utility vehicle assembly plant; and the Fairfax, Kan., car assembly plant near Kansas City.
GM suppliers such as Lear Corp. also are expected to lay off workers as the strike continues. Key issues for the union are outsourcing and safety. Overshadowing the dispute is downsizing at Flint-area GM plants. The company plans to close Buick City next year and eliminate 3,000 jobs. GM says the Flint Metal Center -- one of about two dozen GM stamping plants nationwide -- is not competitive. The automaker accuses the UAW of reneging on promises to support modernization. ---
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