GM's Adam Opel AG unit may set a record for complexity of labor relations at its plant in Zaragosa, Spain. Labor officials work with 7,600 hourly workers in four different languages. They negotiate with not just one workers' union but five. Each union requires a contract.
Moreover, each union is aligned with a local Spanish political party. One union represents about 900 Communists. Another represents about 1,100 Socialists. Still another represents about 300 anarchists. Plant officials refer to the anarchists as 'very extremely positioned.' But the company has found peace with its three-year contracts. 'We have created very good cooperation with our people now,' says Guillermo Mancholas, Zaragosa's lean-manufacturing adviser.