Jan. 12--About 700 hourly workers at General Motors'Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plants are transferring to other plants to keep their jobs.
But for many, it means leaving behind their families, UAW leaders say.
"We have quite a few people transferring to other parts of the country and they're going by themselves and leaving spouses behind and leaving kids behind," said Dave Green, president of Local 1112, which represents workers at GM'sLordstown plant.
"It's very stressful, but they don't have a choice, maybe their spouse has another job here or is taking care of a family member or their kids are enrolled in school," said Green. "This is difficult and disruptive."
A call seeking comment from Local 22 leadership that represents workers at Detroit-Hamtramck was not returned.
GM announced in November that its plants in Lordstown, where it builds the Chevrolet Cruze compact car; and Detroit-Hamtramck, where it builds the Chevrolet Volt and Impala, the Cadillac CT6 and the Buick LaCrosse sedans, will be without product allocation beyond 2019.
Also, its factory in Oshawa, Ontario, and two transmission facilities will lose product allocation beyond next year. In total, about 6,200 factory jobs are affected.
GM said it has 2,700 open jobs at various U.S. factories available to the majority of those working at the affected U.S. facilities. So far, 1,100 workers at U.S. plants have volunteered to transfer, CEO Mary Barra said at an investor event Friday.
Barra said she will be transparent with the UAW and continue to have a dialogue with the UAW about "taking care of our team members. We and the UAW have a common goal there."
UAW fights for plants
Union leaders say the transfers are of minimal consolation.
"All of those transfers are in effect because of the terms of the 2015 collective bargaining agreement," said Brian Rothenberg, UAW spokesman. "As President (Gary) Jones has said, the UAW will leave no stone unturned in working to keep these plants open."
GM said 285 workers from Lordstown are "en route" to the other factories throughout the country.
Lordstown's Green said the dozen or so workers he has talked to who are transferring are mostly going to plants in Flint; Spring Hill,Tennessee; Fort Wayne and Bedford, Indiana; and Toledo.
At Detroit-Hamtramck, 418 workers are transferring, 409 to GM's assembly plant in Flint.
Green said Lordstown's uncertain future has created a level of stress inside the Lordstown plant. While 560 have applied for transfers, some must wait it out in the hope that GM will allocate a new product to it.
"Some people haven't applied to transfer for personal reasons such as caring for an ailing parent or personal needs," said Green. "I don't have any intention in transferring. I think we'll get product here. We're just waiting, but it's that uncertainty that is most difficult to deal with."
GM will also cut nearly 8,000 white-collar workers in North America. It said it will help in job searches, résumé writing and other career counseling for those workers.
GM said the plant idling and job cuts will yield $2 billion to $2.5 billion in cost savings this year.
It said it is working with Canadian GM dealers, colleges and other employers to help the 2,500 workers facing closure of the Ontario plant. It rejected proposals by the Canadian autoworker union Unifor to keep the plant open.
Contact Jamie L. LaReau: 313-222-2149 or email@example.com
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