- Feb 1, 2007
- Dallas, Texas
- 00 4Runner | 02 919 | 87 XJ6 | 86 CB700SC
GM to close Wyoming stamping plant
By 24 Hour News 8 staff
WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) -- The Wyoming stamping plant will be closed by General Motors by December 2009, 24 Hour News 8 has learned.
Tim Lee, the head of GM's stamping division, made the announcement at 2:15 p.m. Monday to a stunned group of employees. The 36th Street plant has 1,400 workers at this time.
Lee told the first-shift employees the work at the plant would be phased out and the plant would be closed in 14 months.
Greg Golembiewski, the president of UAW Local 730 that represents the stamping plant, told 24 Hour News 8's Rachael Ruiz the mood in the meeting was like a funeral, and the workers were shocked and devastated. Golembiewski said there was no indication the plant would be closed.
An employee told 24 Hour News 8 the reason for the plant closing is to mainstream the manufacturing and help save in transportation costs. The Wyoming stamping plant also makes dyes.
Human resources employees will work to determine a number of possible options for those unemployed, including early retirement, buyouts, or relocation to other General Motors facilities.
The closing became necessary as GM reevaluates its North American operations, said Lee. Forty percent of all parts manufactured at the Wyoming plant are for use in pickup trucks and SUVs, which have seen a decline in demand as gas prices rise.
Over the course of the next 12 to 14 months, the work done at the Wyoming plant will be shifted to other GM facilities.
Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt told 24 Hour News 8, "It hurts. There's no doubt about it hurts. GM's been a good neighbor, a good city employer for 80 plus years, I think. And they've worked with us, we've worked them, we've always served them well and they've served us well."
Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said in September that GM would have to make adjustments, particularly in stamping factories.
24 Hour News 8 will continue to follow this developing story.
Earlier Monday, GM spokesman Chris Lee said SUV production at the Janesville, Wisconsin plant, with 1,200 workers represented by the United Auto Workers, will end December 23, earlier than GM had expected.
The Janesville plant also has a small- to medium-duty truck production line with 35 to 50 workers. They will keep working until they have filled an order for Isuzu Motors Ltd., which should take the plant through May or June, Lee said. Then the plant "will cease operations completely," he said.
Workers at the plant will get most of their pay from the company and unemployment benefits for up to two years under their union contract. They will have the option of transferring to other GM factories if jobs are open.
Most of the Janesville factory makes the GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban large SUVs, and sales of those vehicles have plummeted with an increase in gasoline prices to around $4 per gallon earlier this year. Gas prices have subsided closer to $3 per gallon nationwide, but that has done little to boost sales.
"That segment is really shrinking, so we had to make the difficult decision to have this cessation," Lee said.