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Due to pressures of just-in-time manufacturing, many assembly lines in industries are now being designed as the U-shape assembly line balancing (UALB). When compared to the straight assembly line balancing (SALB), it has better balancing, improved communication, fewer workstations, and more flexibility for adjustment. This paper proposes the application of the tabu search (TS) method for the UALB. With the proposed method, the TS can address the number of tasks assigned for each workstation, and also assign the sequence of tasks for each workstation according to precedence constraints. In this paper, three UALB problems from a survey of literature are tested against the proposed method. From the result, it was found that the TS-based method can give optimal solutions for the UALB problems.