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gm lordstown ‘Supplier issue’ forces shutdown

Published: Tue, December 13, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Karl Henkel



General Motors Co. Lordstown and union officials say the plant’s temporary shutdown will be re-evaluated on a “day-to-day” basis.

Tom Mock, Lordstown spokesman, said the plant hiatus, which officially began with the third shift Monday night, is because of “material provided by a supplier ... that could impact customer satisfaction with our products.”

A source told The Vindicator the problem is with a strut supplier and the issue could affect as many as three other plants.

Mock, Dave Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1714, and Jim Graham, president of UAW Local 1112, did not elaborate on the extent of the “supplier issue.”

Graham said the shutdown was entirely supplier-related and had nothing to do with a fire that occurred near the old paint shop on Dec. 1, when most plant workers were on a scheduled one-week production break.

Green said the stoppage has nothing to do with Chevrolet Cruze production or sales.

The Cruze, once the best-selling compact car, has slipped behind Toyota and Honda in recent months.

All shifts are postponed until further notice.

Skilled trades employees will continue reporting to their regular shifts.

Workers will receive short-workweek benefits if the shutdown lasts less than one week. Lordstown employs about 4,500.

Jesse Toprak, auto analyst with TrueCar.com, said Monday afternoon that he didn’t hear any other specific details regarding the shutdown, but said if it had to do with supplier parts, GM had no choice but to halt manufacturing.

“If anything, it signifies GM’s emphasis on quality,” he told The Vindicator. “They don’t want Cruze to be hurt in any way. They’ve got a lot riding on it.”

Green said he was informed of the shutdown early Monday morning.

“At this point, we’re just kind of working with some of our members to see where they are going to be,” he said.

Green said he did not know how long the production hiccup will last. Updates are available to workers by calling 800-934-9244.

This is the third unexpected shutdown this year at the plant.

GM halted production at Lordstown twice in March, once for five days after a fire at a supplier.

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