Originally created 07/31/98

GM plans to restart most assembly plants by Wednesday



DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. plans to have most of its major assembly plants reopened next week now that the United Auto Workers has ratified agreements ending two crippling strikes.

"The bulk of them will be back by Wednesday," GM spokesman Alan Adler said Thursday.

The first assembly plants are scheduled to resume production Friday at Janesville, Wis., Lansing and Detroit. The Janesville plant makes Chevrolet and GMC full-size sport utility vehicles; Lansing has two plants that make the new Oldsmobile Alero and its Pontiac twin, the Grand Am. The Detroit plant assembles Cadillacs.

GM is not divulging the order in which it plans to reopen its other assembly plants next week. Adler said the plans are subject to change.

Analysts at CSM Forecasting said they expect assembly plants in the following cities to open Monday: Flint; Pontiac, Mich.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Arlington, Texas; Oshawa, Ontario; Linden, N.J.; Doraville, Ga.; Ramos Arizpe, Mexico; Orion Township, Mich.; Lordstown, Ohio; and Oklahoma City.

Those should be followed Tuesday by plants in Moraine, Ohio; Shreveport, La.; Kansas City, Kan.; and St. Therese, Quebec. Plants in Wentzville, Mo., and Wilmington, Del., are expected to reopen Wednesday, followed by Baltimore on Thursday, the analysts said.

The automaker is moving quickly to restart plants that make its most profitable and in-demand vehicles first, but proximity to Michigan and lack of inventory also are factors. Twenty-seven assembly plants were forced to shut down when they ran out of parts produced at two plants in Flint. More than 100 GM parts plants also were affected.

Strikes that began in early June at the Flint plants ended Wednesday when workers ratified agreements to resolve the disputes. Workers began returning to those plants shortly after the voting was completed.

The largest group of idled assembly plants is expected to reopen Monday, with the rest coming back on line Tuesday through Thursday.

Adler said some workers are being called back to the plants in advance of production to get them ready.