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GM Troubles Hurting Canadian Workers

Auto parts manufacturers in Canada are forced to lay off workers as labor disputes continue in the U.S. and GM plants sit idle.

CAMBRIDGE, Ontario (AP) — Tenneco Inc.'s exhaust systems plant in Cambridge will lay off 200 workers by the end of the day Tuesday, making it the latest casualty of a labor dispute in the United States.
And there's likely more pain ahead.
Kitchener Frame Ltd.'s 800 active unionized employees will learn their fate later this week.
A strike has forced General Motors' Moraine, Ohio plant to halt production.
Kitchener Frame makes frames for GM sport utility vehicles assembled in Moraine.
American Axle & Manufacturing Inc.'s 3,600 unionized workers walked off the job last Tuesday, forcing a number of GM plants to idle, including the automaker's Oshawa, Ont. truck assembly plant.
Nearly 80 per cent of American Axle's products are shipped to GM plants.
The automaker confirmed its Moraine plant was idled after Monday's second shift.
Mike Devine, president of the Canadian Auto Workers Local 1451, which represents 1,200 Kitchener Frame workers, said a decision about possible layoffs will be made later this week.
''All we can say is there will be an impact on Kitchener Frame,'' he said.
Kitchener Frame has laid off 400 workers in recent months.
GM's Oshawa shutdown had already forced Lear Corp.'s Kitchener plant to lay off 65 employees this week because of stalled truck production.
There are 380 unionized workers remaining at Lear's plant, which produces metal components for GM truck seats.
Those components are shipped to an Ajax Lear plant, which makes seats for GM vehicles.
AGS Automotive, which makes bumpers for GM trucks, issued 60 layoff notices to its Cambridge workforce last week.
Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, said it's difficult to assess the potential impact of the American Axle strike.
The supply chain for companies like GM is like a ''spiderweb of dominos,'' with tiles falling all over the place, he said.
''You don't know which direction they're going.''
If the strike continues, there will be a great deal of collateral damage, Fedchun fears.
''There are going to be a lot of layoffs,'' he said.
The complicating factor in the strike is the cost structure of other auto parts producers.
Companies such as Delphi Corp. and Dana Corp. have emerged from bankruptcy protection with wages averaging $14 an hour.
American Axle, Fedchun said, cannot compete with such wages.
The United Auto Workers union, which represents American Axle workers, has hinted the strike will be long, since the company is reported to be asking for a 50 per cent pay cut.
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