Strike forces another GM plant to shut down

/ Source: The Associated Press

A weeklong strike at a key parts supplier has forced General Motors Corp. to temporarily close a fifth plant on Monday, a company official said.

GM was closing an assembly plant in Moraine, Ohio, on Monday night as the impact of a strike at American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc. continued to widen.

The Moraine factory's 2,170 production workers were told to report to work for training on Tuesday, but it was uncertain how long they would continue coming to work, GM spokesman Tom Wickham said.

The plant near Dayton makes the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Saab 9-7X and Isuzu Ascender mid-sized sport utility vehicles.

GM now has decided to close five factories due to a lack of parts made by American Axle, affecting more than 13,000 hourly workers.

About 3,600 workers represented by the United Auto Workers at five American Axle plants in Michigan and New York went on strike last week in a contract dispute.

American Axle and the UAW haven't returned to the bargaining table since talks broke off on Feb. 25, although both sides have said they're ready to resume negotiations at any time. Company spokeswoman Renee Rogers said Monday afternoon that no talks have been scheduled. The UAW did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The strike at the company, which makes axles, drive shafts and stabilizer bars, began shortly after midnight Tuesday.

Last week, GM, the nation's largest automaker, announced it would temporarily shutter four plants that make full-sized pickup trucks, idling thousands of workers in the U.S. and Canada.

Three of the closures, in Flint, Mich., Fort Wayne, Ind., and Oshawa, Ontario, took place Friday night, on top of the idling of a pickup truck factory in Pontiac on Thursday.

The four plants idled last week make the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-sized pickup trucks.