In yet another case of U.S. automotive jobs being saved by taxpayer bailout, only to see those jobs eventually be shipped to Mexico, General Motors Co. has confirmed that its Flint East production plant in Michigan, which makes instrument clusters for pickup trucks, will close in Nov. 2013. In total, 287 U.S. jobs will be cut. The lost labor will reportedly shift to lower-paid employees in Mexico.
GM Delphi Flint East agreement expired in 2011
GM reached an agreement in 2007 with the United Auto Workers and Delphi Automotive that provided UAW hourly employees with jobs at the plant, which was formerly known as Delphi Flint East. Delphi Automotive managed the employees and the facility, according to GM spokesman Tom Wickham. The agreement expired on Sept. 14, 2011. GM’s decision to close the plant was reportedly made “well before” UAW 651 members voted to authorize a strike last week.
Most workers will be laid off
Flint East’s lost work will transfer to a Delphi plant located in Mexico. Fifty of the 287 GM employees whose jobs will be lost will have the option of shifting to other GM plants where openings exist. The remainder will be laid off, but can sill file for unemployment benefits.
“Everyone at Flint East should be proud of their efforts to keep this operation going longer than had been agreed upon or expected,” said Dorothy Hennessy, director of labor relations for GM, via a letter to affected workers. “However, due to product changes at GM, production will cease at Flint East in November 2013. We felt it was important to let you know this news so you can make appropriate plans for your future.”
A reward unfulfilled
According to UAW Local 651 President Art Reyes, GM officials had previously promised that the Flint East site would receive contracts to produce next generation pickups. Attempts to secure that work had been in progress for two years before the site’s fate was revealed.
“These people deserve to know what’s going to happen,” Reyes said. “We can deal with whatever’s going to happen. If GM’s going to renege on a promise that was made, they need to say that.”
Second GM factory closure in a month
Flint East is the second General Motors factory to close in less than a month in Michigan’s Genesee County. Last month, the Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center’s closure affected 343 employees, including 315 hourly workers.
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Delphi will ‘attempt to redeploy’ 40 salaried workers
Delphi representative Lindsey Williams told the automotive press via email that Delphi will “attempt to redeploy” up to 40 salaried workers who will lose their jobs in the Flint East closure. Those who aren’t reassigned may be eligible for severance.