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GM cuts shift at Detroit plant

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

By Kalea Hall

khall@vindy.com

LORDSTOWN

General Motors will end the second shift at its Detroit Hamtramck Assembly Plant in March, eliminating 1,300 jobs.

GM has to cut the second shift “to align production with current and forecasted market demand,” like the automaker had to do at GM Lordstown, where the third shift will be cut in January, eliminating 1,245 jobs.

The Detroit plant produces the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric car, Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Impala and the Buick LaCrosse sedans.

“The cessation of second shift production operations will ultimately result in the indefinite [permanent] layoff of approximately 493 GM Detroit Hamtramck Assembly regular active production employees, 538 temporary assembly plant employees, 51 GM Detroit Hamtramck Assembly skilled trades employees, 30 GM Manufacturing Subsystems LLC temporary employees and 48 GM Manufacturing Subsystems LLC regular employees,” the automaker says in its Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, WARN, filing with the state Monday.

GM also expects about 32 salaried employees will voluntarily transfer to other local GM plants.

The Hamtramck plant’s second shift just started earlier this year after GM announced in October 2015 it would add 1,200 jobs to the plant.

In January, GM will eliminate the third shift at the GM Lordstown Assembly Plant where the Chevrolet Cruze, a small car, is built.

“This is just a continued shift away from cars to full-size pickups, SUVs and crossovers,” said Glenn Johnson, United Auto Workers Local 1112 president. “We are as heartbroken for the UAW members in Detroit as we are for our members.”

Johnson noted the trend toward larger vehicles has impacted other automakers, too, not just GM. In April, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said it would cut one of the two shifts at its Sterling Heights, Mich., plant where the Chrysler 200 sedan is made.

“It’s something that’s unfortunate,” said Robert Morales, UAW Local 1714 president. “It’s just a part of the cycle. Hopefully, we can rebound and build the cars for the customers and keep supporting our families.”

The Hamtramck announcement came after GM said it would temporarily shut down five factories, including GM Lordstown, to reduce its car inventory on dealer lots.

In January, the following plants will be down one to three weeks each: the Detroit-Hamtramck factory; the Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan.; the Lansing Grand River plant in Lansing, Mich.; the Lords-town plant; and the Bowling Green, Ky. plant.