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GM auto workers endorse strike at Kentucky plant

FRANKFORT - Workers at the General Motors plant in Kentucky that assembles Corvettes voted Tuesday to authorize a strike over lingering safety concerns, but a local union leader said he hopes the differences can be resolved without a walkout.

Union members voted overwhelmingly to give union leaders the green light to call a strike if necessary. About 800 union workers were eligible to vote, and more than 90 percent of those casting ballots backed the strike authorization, said Eldon Renaud, president of United Auto Workers Local 2164

Renaud said issues involved were safety and quality control.

He said there have been several "near misses" that could have resulted in serious injuries for assembly line workers at the Bowling Green plant. The union also worries that the elimination of quality control positions will affect the integrity of the plant's quality procedures, he said.

Renaud said he was confident the strike-authorization vote would get the "immediate attention" of management, resulting in stepped up negotiations.

"Nobody wants to have a strike," he said. "Who really benefits by it?"

The plant said the safety of its employees and the quality of its products are at the forefront of every decision.

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