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West Virginia auto workers 'glad to be back at work'

September 27, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Striking members of United Auto Workers Local 1590 in Martinsburg returned to work the second shift at the General Motors parts distribution center on Wednesday afternoon, the union group's president said.

"Everybody was glad to be back at work," Ken Collinson said. "A (prolonged) strike would have crippled both sides. We knew that."

In the next week or so, Collinson said Local 1590 leaders will hold informational meetings about the tentative agreement that was announced by union and GM leaders early Wednesday.

Collinson said he first heard the announcement on the radio about 5 a.m., and later received a phone call that confirmed the report.

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"Our members are asking all kinds of questions," said Collinson, who asked for members to be patient until details of the proposed deal can be presented locally within the next week or so.

The members will then be asked to vote on whether to ratify the tentative deal, Collinson said.

Collinson thanked all of the union's retirees and volunteers for turning out in support of the work stoppage, which began about 11 a.m. Monday at GM's operations northwest of Martinsburg off W.Va. 9.

"It was something that had to be done ... We tried to maintain civility and I think we did a good job with that," he said.

The GM operation in Martinsburg employs about 200 people, including 157 union workers, along with hourly wage earners and management, officials said this week.

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