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UPDATE: GM extends holiday shutdown, makes cuts

Published: Fri, November 21, 2008 @ 2:09 p.m.

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors Corp. will extend its holiday shutdown or make other production cuts at five factories at as it deals with a continued U.S. auto sales slump and fights to stay solvent.

Also Friday, the company announced changes at five other factories that could increase production of some models, all based on a volatile U.S. auto market that has slumped to a 25-year low.

The changes won't be the last as cash-starved GM tries to conserve as much money as possible while awaiting Congressional action on a bailout loan package for Detroit's three automakers.

"Market demand is usually the prevailing criteria," said spokesman Chris Lee. "We're looking at this much more frequently than I've ever seen us as far as making minor adjustments. And I suspect that will be the norm going forward."

GM said it will cancel a down week starting Dec. 8 at its Wentzville, Mo., factory that makes full-size vans, and will keep or restore overtime at factories in Delta Township, Mich., near Lansing; Spring Hill, Tenn.; Arlington, Texas; and Fort Wayne, Ind.

But factories facing cuts include a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where workers were told that the normal two-week holiday shutdown will be extended until Jan. 20. The sprawling factory complex stamps parts for and assembles the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 small cars.

At Lordstown, the last scheduled workday will be Dec. 23, although production will start to wind down before that, said Dave Green, president of a United Auto Workers local at the complex.

Green said that after Jan. 20, the Lordstown complex will keep operating around the clock, but assembly line speed will be reduced from the current 62 vehicles per hour to 46.5 vehicles. The Lordstown complex, located about 50 miles southeast of Cleveland, employs about 4,200 production workers.

Earlier this year the company added workers to the plant as demand for its small, fuel-efficient cars increased. But since then the bottom has fallen out of sales industrywide, and GM later announced it would lay off up to 1,100 of the plant's workers starting Jan. 20.

Green said he's optimistic that GM will resume production as scheduled on Jan. 20, although at the slower assembly line speed.

"I think we'll come back, and then if production warrants, or demand wanes, maybe there will be a little more down time," he said. "It's all driven by the market, so it's really out of our hands."

GM also plans to close the Oshawa, Ontario, truck plant sooner than planned. The company had said in June it would close the pickup truck plant by 2010; the new closure date was not available. In addition, GM will slow assembly line speeds at two of the factories.

The automaker normally shutters its plants for two weeks around the Christmas and New Year's holidays, reopening them the first week in January. But with U.S. auto sales down 15 percent and GM sales off 20 percent for the first nine months of the year, the closings were extended.

Workers will get holiday pay for the first two weeks, then go on layoff and get unemployment benefits and supplemental pay from the company.


1sinthor(87 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Do you hear what i hear? BOOO HOOO!! WAAAA!! OMG!! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP US !! MOMMY MOMMY!!! 18$ hr. to put 3 bolts in a door?? good for them...........

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2stardust(1 comment)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

I agree with you to a degree. The workers there have been over paid for years 35 dollars and hour to sleep on a tow motor. If they would have cut there wages years ago this wouldnt be happening. But, If lordstown goes under alot in this area will suffer NOT just the people at Lordstown. I agree it was all about who you knew to work there and that was wrong too. but I think they need to step in to work it out some how because if they dont alot of us will be hurting alot more then we already are.


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3act28(3 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

3 bolts huh? when did you work at GM? I love how people who have never stepped foot in the plant seem to know so much about the work we do. Lets see how long it takes you to start really crying when thousands of jobs leave our area. It will touch us all. Country wide! hope your prepared for that sinthor.

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4Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Soon we will all join the world economy, third world that is. GM has served our valley well. When GM workers have no money to spend the fallout will affect everyone. Prosperous workers from every sector are good for the valley.

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5sinthor(87 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago


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6babs68(58 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Wow...Unbelieveable. Did I understand correctly that they will receive a holiday pay during the plant shut down. Dang...In real America when my plant shut's down, if you don't have any PTO remaining it's unpaid...imagine that??? IBM/Flextronics/Nortel/GSK/Tyco/TTM Big Companies just to name a few will have plant shut downs for 2 weeks..w/NO PAY!
GM/UAW better wake up...if your people don't have the PTO time left over then they should take it without pay. "That includes Managers". My gosh your complaining that your going through cash for operation like water...well I understand now...GM/UAW obviously likes to swim... NO Bail Out...2 decision that I have seen in a week that was not thought out!

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7hillbilly20(5 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

they need to all take a cut in pay. from top to bottom to save there jobs. this is all about bailing out the union not the automaker. remember in the late 70's the unions with there outragious negotiations brought down the steel industry. they couldnt compete either because of labor cost and had to shutdown. now the samething is happening to the auto industry. you realize they get 31 an hour during a layoff for doing nothing and bailout money would have to pay for that. its time to deal with the unions not the automaker

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8babs68(58 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Hillbilly...AMEN! Enough said.

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9ldchian(56 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

i have a question for this entire group. has anyone ever seen a post by sinthor that wasn't just plain stupid?

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10hillbilly20(5 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

if they get the bailout money it will not only pay that holiday pay but it will pay them 31.00 an hour unemployment for doing nothing. i urge all to contact your congressmen and tell them you dont want the bailout. they may go bankrupt but the workers wont lose there jobs. it forces them to renegotiate there contract. when the steel mill jobs left so did the union. they did nothing for the workers that payed union dues for years.

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11JD010101(137 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Obama will bring CHANGE to the US Auto industry. On layoff status you will be required to volunteer for ACORN!!!! ;-)

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12tll3023(35 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

amen Hillbilly20...

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13scrooge(563 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Hillbilly has it right. Until they restructure that money will be wasted just like the billions before it.
As for the extended layoffs-I don't know a GM employee that won't enjoy getting most of his pay for sitting at home on his a$$ for the holiday.

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14bigarmes(6 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

You jealous people make me sick with your comments about auto workers and the uaw when I don't see 1 fact here in all these posts. 3 bolts in a door, sit on our a$$ and get paid, WTF are you people talking about? If you knew your facts then you would know that if they receive the bailout money the contract would be opened for renegotiation not if they go bankrupt. Also we receive the same percentage from unemployment that everyone else does, the balance is paid to us by the union which we pay into every month. If you would like to avoid making an A$$ of yourself and believe everything you read maybe try posting a question and wait for a response from someone who works there instead of a bitter $10.00 an hour grunt!!!

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15lebronjeremy(16 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

If GM workers have it so easy, then why doesn't everyone work there? How much would they have to pay you to work at a place like that?

They get paid well because the job is dangerous and health-hazerdous. But they don't even get paid well anymore. Fourteen dollars an hour??? Of course the workers, or the "real Americans" as the anti-union Sarah Palin put it, had to take the pay cuts. What about the executives?

Hillbilly is right in the respect that all wages across the board need to be cut if they are in such dire need of money. But really, they should start at the top.

It's not the production workers' fault that the executives didn't invest the money into R&D properly. It's not their fault that the executives didn't modernize the plants, so even when they have to start producing new cars, they won't be able to. The actual workers had nothing to do with the major share-holders deciding that the money that they received from the huge corporate tax cuts would better be served lining their pockets, than serving their company.

But all of you people want to take it out on the worker. Let me tell you something. The more money people make, the better it is for the economy. Rick Wagoner won't be buying pizzas from Fernando, but that guy that works in the plant, the one that you are jealous of because he has good benefits, he does buy pizza from Fernando. So you people want to cut that guy's pay, and take a customer away from Fernando?

Here's something else. If you cut the workers' benefits, and they can't afford healthcare, where do you think they'll get it from? The government, perhaps? Guess where that money comes from? It's not from GM; it's from you.

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