GM strike takes toll on electrical distributors

With a debilitating walkout against General Motors Corp. in its third week, business from the auto industry had ground to a halt in Flint, Mich., said Gil Gottlieb, president of Royalite Co., Flint, Mich. "Management (at GM's Flint plant) is working, but they're not accepting any deliveries," he said. Gottlieb said Royalite is picking up some counter business from striking GM employees working as moonlighters. The construction market in Flint continues to be strong, he said, but the loss of auto business is forcing Royalite to start considering some hard choices.

"You start thinking about reduced salaries, you think about layoffs, voluntary leaves. Fortunately we've had some growth in some other areas so we're able to move some people around and keep them busy. That can only last for so long," he said. Royalite's branch in Saginaw has fared better thanks to a more diverse economy.

MacNaughton-MacKay Electric Co., Madison Heights, Mich., said it still is receiving orders from GM plants, but John MacDonald, vice president of operations, expects that to eventually dwindle. The strike by 9,200 United Auto Workers members against two parts plants in Flint shut down most of GM's North American production.

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