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UAW INTERNATIONAL JOINS CHICAGO UAW LOCAL 719 IN SEEKING OVERTURN OF $379 MILLION METRA CONTRACT

 UAW INTERNATIONAL JOINS CHICAGO UAW LOCAL 719
 IN SEEKING OVERTURN OF $379 MILLION METRA CONTRACT
 DETROIT, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- "At a time when our country's industrial base is in danger and millions are out of work, it is unacceptable to let improper bidding procedures jeopardize an existing skilled workforce, extend our dependence on Japanese technology and increase our already huge trade deficit with Japan," said UAW Vice President Stephen P. Yokich, who heads the union's General Motors Department, and Bill Stewart, who heads the union's Region 4, which encompasses Illinois and eight other midwestern states, in announcing that the International Union, UAW, will file a Friend of the Court brief in support of a lawsuit already filed by UAW Local 719.
 The brief in support of the Local 719 suit will be filed today (Friday, Feb. 7) by UAW Chicago Counsel Harold Katz. The Local 719 suit, filed by attorney William Harte and assigned to Circuit Court Judge Edwin Berman, asserts that METRA (Metropolitan Rail) violated its own procurement regulations by not fully disclosing the basis upon which the award of a contract for the building of 173 new rail cars and the rehabilitation of 140 old cars for the METRA system would be decided. The suit asks the court for a declaratory judgment to order METRA to reopen the bidding process.
 The suit stems from a contract that METRA intends to award to Idaho- based Morrison Knudsen, which primarily operates as a civil construction firm, in partnership with the Japanese transit car builder Nippon- Sharyo, for the building of 173 new rail cars and the rehabilitation of 140 old cars for the METRA system. METRA favored the MK/Sharyo proposal over an alternative submitted by the Electromotive Division of General Motors (NYSE: GM) of La Grange, Ill., in partnership with Pullman Technology, Inc., of Harvey, Ill., and Bombardier Corp., the American subsidiary of transportation giant Bombardier, Inc.
 In explaining why Local 719 was challenging the procurement procedures in court, Carole Travis, president of Local 719, which represents more than 2,000 skilled UAW members at GM's Electromotive Division in La Grange, said that in addition to protecting the integrity of the procurement procedure itself, "this case goes to the heart of the economic future of the U.S."
 "GM's proposal offered the assurance of a quality product that is safe and sound; long-term, good-paying jobs for an existing, highly skilled workforce, a majority of whom are minorities; and the establishment of a new industry in Illinois," Travis said.
 "The other proposal -- the one that was awarded the contract -- does virtually nothing for Illinois or American workers and industry. Rather, it would result in a one-time-only deal that would import most of its high-value components from Japan, use unskilled labor for assembly, and add nothing to the long-term well-being of our state or nation," she said.
 "Whether METRA was misled or mistaken, we believe that both the courts and the public will agree that with a half-billion dollars at stake, this contract deserves greater scrutiny and that Illinois deserves more for its money," Travis concluded.
 -0- 2/7/92
 /CONTACT: Marilyn Katz of MK Communications, 312-944-5706, for UAW Local 719; Carole Travis of UAW Local 719, 708-354-3600; or Frank Joyce of UAW Public Relations, 313-926-5291/
 (GM) CO: United Auto Workers; UAW Local 719; General Motors Corporation ST: Illinois, Michigan IN: TRN SU:


DH -- DE009 -- 7664 02/07/92 10:07 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 7, 1992
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