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February 5, 2012
Salem News

Stamp becomes partner in GBQ Holding LLC

COLUMBUS-GBQ has announced that Matthew E. Stamp, JD, LLM is now a partner at GBQ Holdings LLC.

Stamp joined the firm in 2007 and has over 14 years of experience in state and local tax services.

Stamp grew up in Salem and his parents, John and Mary Ruth Stamp still live in the area.

A 1991 Salem High School graduate, Stamp received his bachelor's of arts degree in accounting from Mount Union University, and his juris doctorate and LLM in taxation from Capital University Law School.

Houck will present social media program

SALEM-It's one thing to be familiar with Facebook and other social media platforms from a personal perspective, but how can businesses effectively use social media to market their products and services?

Jim Houck, senior consultant at Pecchia Communications, will present "Like It or Leave It: Using Social Media for Business" this week at the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce's Business Connection luncheon, a new monthly event coordinated by the chamber.

The event will begin at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Salem Community Center and be finished no later than 1:15 p.m. Admission is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Contact the chamber at 330-337-3473 for registration details.

Houck's presentation will cover recent trends and best practices, integrating social media into a comprehensive marketing program, setting expectations, analyzing return on investment and measuring success.

Pecchia Communications is a Youngstown public relations and marketing firm that provides senior-level public relations, marketing and change management communications services for a range of clients, large and small.

Houck is a veteran marketing professional from Boardman with more than 15 years of experience in corporate communications and integrated marketing agency positions in Northeast Ohio.

Chevy Cruze sales off to a fast start

Special to the Salem News

LORDSTOWN - The Chevrolet Cruze sprinted off the 2012 starting line in January with 15,049 sales, up 10.4 percent from January 2011, General Motors Co. said Thursday.

The Lordstown Complex-built compact car was GM's second-best selling car, trailing only the Chevrolet Impala's 16,009. The Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck led all GM vehicles with 26,850 sales.

Lordstown built 23,551 Cruzes versus 22,314 a year ago, GM said.

GM car sales rose 13 percent thanks to the new Chevrolet Sonic subcompact. But demand for its trucks and crossovers fell. One problem: GM is no longer making the HHR crossover, which contributed more than 7,300 sales last January. GM also compared unfavorably to last January - overall sales dipped 6.1 percent to 167,962 - because its 2011 sales were inflated by rebates and other deals. TrueCar estimated that GM's incentives fell 16 percent to $3,095 per vehicle this January.

GM's sales will likely be down in February, too, because of the incentives it offered last year, warned Don Johnson, GM's vice president of U.S. sales.

GM could see slow sales through the first half of the year, until new models go on sale this summer, Whiston said. The company will offer two Cadillacs, a Chevrolet Malibu and the Spark mini-car. Sales of the Chevrolet Volt electric car totaled 603. That was less than half the number sold in December and sales fell short of its rival, the Nissan Leaf. Johnson said sales were affected by government hearings into Volt battery fires and GM's announcement that it will retrofit existing Volts so they are less prone to fires after a severe crash. The company expects sales to pick up now that GM is producing a Volt that's eligible to drive in California's high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

Workers are need to produce records in suit

Special to the Salem News

YOUNGSTOWN - Lordstown Complex hourly workers suing General Motors LLC, along with their local and international union, must leap some hurdles that even their attorney found daunting. "You have to be an expert in contract language to avoid all the land mines," Kenneth D. Myers said after a case management conference Wednesday in the Thomas D. Lambros Federal Building in downtown Youngstown. Ben Strickland, shop chairman of United Auto Workers Local 1112 at the auto assembly plant, and Dennis Haines, the local's attorney, declined to give details of the conference. "We scheduled some things. There wasn't much beyond that," Haines said.

Myers said one of the hurdles that arose during the conference was how many of the 28 workers will be allowed in the civil lawsuit before Judge Benita Y. Pearson.

The Cleveland lawyer said the apparent lack of documents and records complicates his efforts to keep all 28 in the suit. He said the union attorney said a hearing before the UAW International's Public Review Board on Jan. 24, 2011, may not have been recorded or transcribed.

Only four workers were listed as having appealed to the review board, but Myers said he argued the four were representing a total of 35 at the time. "The irony is you'd think that GM and the UAW would keep better records," he said. "I hope transcripts exist. If not, things got a little murky. Right now, murky works for the union." The suit alleges a tangled sequence of labor contract violations dating back to 2006 that includes the implementation of a two-tier wage system that paid new workers about $14 an hour instead of the traditional $28, although the plaintiffs made $24 an hour for a while.

The hiring of 298 workers cut from auto parts supplier Delphi Packard Electrical / Electronic Architecture during the parent company's bankruptcy complicated matters.

The Delphi workers jumped over the newer Lordstown workers at the full $28 hourly rate, Lordstown resident Mark Dragomier said.

Myers said the schedule has GM and the UAW sending him a list of issues by Feb. 8. He then will send the defendants by Feb. 17 a list of documents he wants. They have 30 days to produce the documents, he said.

A telephone conference is scheduled with Pearson on April 2 to discuss if Myers needs to take testimony under oath from anyone.

The defendants have to file a motion by April 20 to cut the plaintiffs to four, after which he has 30 days to respond, Myers said.

"Some portion of the case will go forward. I hope it can continue with all 28," he said.



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