GM employees to return to work on stranded SUVs

Thursday, May 22nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Some employees will return to work at the General Motors Assembly Plant next week to complete sport utility vehicles that were stranded on the assembly line because of the May 8 tornado.

About 800 workers will be back on the job May 29 and possibly May 30 to finish the more than 500 seven-passenger Chevrolet TrailBlazers and GMC Envoys, plant spokeswoman Kathy Oden said Wednesday. The employees will be notified by telephone or letter.

``We'll bring the assembly employees back and run the vehicles through the normal production and quality-control processes,'' Oden said.

The plant will then be idled again until other repairs are finished. GM may have an estimate within the week of when the plant can return to full production, Oden said.

The unfinished SUVs weren't damaged when a twister struck the paint shop and damaged an adjoining body shop. The tornado damaged about 600 newly assembled vehicles in surrounding parking lots and demolished the hall for United Auto Workers Local 1999 across the street.

No injuries were reported, but two truck drivers making deliveries to the plant suffered minor injuries.

Officials expect power to be back on by Monday, Oden said.

Meanwhile, negotiations between GM and UAW have resulted in an extension of supplemental unemployment benefits (SUB) beyond the normal two-week period from ``acts of God'' specified in the national contract.