Strike at GM's Kansas Plant Nears End

Union waiting on final votes

General Motors Corp.'s labor woes neared an end as workers at its final striking plant voted on a tentative agreement on May 20.

United Auto Workers union Local 31 said on its Web site that picketing would continue until "all votes had been counted" by workers at a Kansas plant that produces one of GM's hottest-selling cars, the Chevrolet Malibu.

The deal comes just days after the UAW reached a tentative agreement with key supplier and former GM subsidiary American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc.

GM's production has been cut by more than 300,000 vehicles since the American Axle strike began Feb. 26.

The first five weeks of the nearly three month-long strike cost the automaker 800 million dollars, GM said in securities filings. It has not released more recent cost estimates.

Ratification votes at American Axle plants continue through May 22. Since the following Monday is Memorial Day, work will likely not resume before May 27 if the contract is approved.

The strike at the Kansas plant, which began May 5, was seen by analysts as an attempt by the UAW to pressure GM to step into negotiations with American Axle.

A similar strike at a GM plant in Michigan also was recently resolved.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Auto Workers overwhelmingly approved new three-year labor agreements with GM, the union said May 17.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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