General Motors will close its West Chester, Ohio processing center May 31, according to the Dayton Daily News. The closure isn’t a surprise. UAW Local 696 President Brian Martin told the publication last November that General Motors planned to close the facility by September 2019. The closure will affect 101 hourly and salaried employees at the facility, 94 of which are represented by the UAW.
The West Chester, Ohio processing center closure is just another nail in the coffin for unionized manufacturing in Ohio. The automaker announced last year it’d idle the Lordstown factory, which closes tomorrow. The rash of closures across the U.S. and Canada comes as the automaker closes five North American facilities as part of a restructuring plan that the company hopes will save it $6 billion by 2020.
General Motors built its West Chester processing center in 2000, constructing a 384,000-square-foot facility. In 2008, the automaker leased space at another location in the city.
Much of the news surrounding GM’s bold restructuring has focused on the five North American facilities the automaker plans to “unallocate” and the layoffs of white-collar workers and executive staff. However, there’s a domino effect taking place in many communities. Local suppliers in Ohio have already announced layoffs and closures as well—a direct impact of losing business from the Lordstown factory.
A January report suggested Michigan could lose up to 16,000 jobs over the next two years directly related to GM’s layoffs. Communities just now regaining a secure financial footing after the 2008 recession could face new challenges as the ripple effect spreads outward from GM’s decisions. It’ll be fascinating to watch in the coming months how the rash of plant closures across the Midwest and Canada affect their local communities. Even layoffs at GM’s Warren Tech Center had a chilling effect on local businesses just days after layoffs began.