Come April, 104 workers at GM’s Flint Engine Operations plant will lose their jobs, as General Motors plans to discontinue the third shift at the facility. According to reports, the job cuts are due to GM’s decision to source the turbocharged 1.4 liter engine from a plant in Korea — which reportedly came online sooner than expected (more on this in the GMA take).
The layoffs will affect 64 full-time and 40 temporary workers, while third shift operations on the machining line will not be affected. The plant current employes about 900 hourly and salaried workers. Of the 104 workers being laid off, 60 have seniority and will be offered employment at other GM plants pending union negotiations, while the other 44 are temporary workers without a transfer offer.
The layoffs represent GM’s third downsizing this year, following the closure of the Grand Blanc Weld Tool Plant in mid-January and layoffs at the Flint Delphi-East plant three weeks later. Not all news is grim, however, as GM is adding several thousand high-tech IT jobs across the United States as part of its IT transformation strategy.
The GM Authority Take
After making a few calls and emails, here’s what’s happening: the 1.4 liter turbo-charged engine (LUJ/LUV) for the Buick Encore that’s also available in the Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze was being assembled in Flint, then sent to GM’s plant in Korea, and then sent to GM’s plant in Bupyeong, South Korea to be placed in the Encore. Once the vehicle was assembled (in Korea), it was then shipped to the U.S. In effect, the engine crossed the ocean twice in the process. GM could also source the same engine from its manufacturing operations in Austria, but — for whatever reason — elected not to.
Either way, it’s always sad to see local jobs go, especially when it’s such a sudden decision. Interestingly, GM is saying that the third assembly shift has always been a temporary affair, while some of the workers who worked the shift were under the impression that the shift was more permanent. We earnestly wish those workers who won’t be transfered to other plants the best of luck in finding a new job.