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http://www.daytondailynews.com/b/content/oh/story/business/2008/03/05/ddn030508gmweb.htmlMORAINE — Although union negotiators want to position General Motors' last Dayton-area plant for future products, one negotiator finds it tough to be optimistic.
"At this point, I'll be honest with you, I have nothing to be optimistic about," Harry Bogan, a regional director for the International Union of Electronic Workers-Communication Workers of America, said Wednesday, March 5.
Bogan said his union is doing what it can, such as agreeing to an "attrition program" encouraging workers to leave or retire by July 1. But he said GM faces "dire financial straits" and the domestic economy is suffering.
"I think GM would probably like to keep it (the Moraine plant)," Bogan said. "But economically, is it feasible?"
GM's local plant makes GMC Envoys and Chevrolet Trailblazers, among other models. But the plant is not slated to have a product after two more years.
Bogan said GM negotiators tell him, "Harry, there is nothing scheduled for the plant after 2010."
GM spokesman Dan Flores said the plant's future has not been decided.
Flores said GM is building vehicles "better than we ever have in the history of the company." But he said GM is only "essentially break-even" in the United States.
GM must "sell more cars or cut more costs — or a combination of the two," Flores said.
Related Article VEBA remains on talks' agenda
http://www.daytondailynews.com/b/content/oh/story/business/2008/03/05/ddn030608gm.htmlIUE-CWA shop chairman says union must determine how it can shoulder future health care costs for workers and retirees.
Among the questions still on the negotiating table: A VEBA, or voluntary employees beneficiary association. In a VEBA, GM would contribute to a trust fund, which the International Union of Electronic Workers-Communication Workers of America would manage to cover future health care costs for current or future retirees.
Harlow said his union must determine how it can shoulder the costs of a VEBA. Last year, the United Auto Workers — a much bigger union — agreed with GM on a similar trust fund.
"That's the one thing the corporation is saying they want us to follow," Harlow said. GM's Moraine plant is the automaker's only production facility represented by the IUE-CWA.
But representatives of GM have told union negotiators that there are no new products at the moment for the local plant.
"We fully understand the mounting frustrations of a lack of an immediate future and a newly negotiated agreement," the union said in a statement to members on its Web site this week.
Harlow said it's the union's goal is to position the plant for new vehicles if GM presents them.
"That's what we're hoping for," he said.