The future of General Motors‘ Detroit-Hamtramck plant is looking healthy. Set to become the automaker’s first dedicated electric vehicle plant, it will begin producing the Cruise Origin autonomous vehicle late next year and will also add the GMC Hummer EV to its lines shortly after.
GM’s current plans for Detroit-Hamtramck are much different than they were previously. The plant was nearly shut down permanently, having been put on the chopping block in 2018 as part of GM’s restructuring efforts. GM then proposed allocating production of its new electric vehicles to the plant during the negotiating process for the 2019 UAW national agreement, an offer the union eventually accepted, though it was not able to secure the future of Lordstown Assembly.
While workers at Detroit-Hamtramck are pleased the facility will stay open, some are still anxious about what’s to come. Clayton Jackson, a millwright at the plant, told The Detroit Free Press in a recent interview that he’s nervous, as he’ll be shifting from the night shift to the day shift and doesn’t know what may be in store for him down the road. He will work through the re-tooling process for the plant, along with 70 or so other skilled trades employees.
“We don’t know what to expect,” said Jackson. “You’re working in a plant that was intended to close, then you find out it’s staying open. They haven’t really mapped out the plan to us.”
Terry Dittes, the UAW’s vice president for its GM department, remains confident the electric vehicle programs will keep the lights on at the plant well into the foreseeable future, though.
“For UAW members, Hamtramck, Detroit and the surrounding community, these negotiated product investments have created job security and a bright future for UAW Hamtramck members,” Dittes told The Detroit Free Press.
GM will lay off 814 hourly and salaried workers at Detroit-Hamtramck starting February 28, more than 600 of which are UAW Local 22 workers. UAW employees were given the option of either relocating to another GM plant permanently or temporarily transferring to another GM plant until the Detroit-Hamtramck is re-tooled. GM offered workers who accepted the permanent transition up to $30,000 to relocate, while those who opted for the temporary transition would receive $5,000, according to The Detroit Free Press. Some workers put an application to be transferred to nearby Flint Assembly, which is currently running overtime in order to meet the high demand for GM’s heavy-duty pickup trucks.
The last Chevrolet Impala is currently being built at Detroit-Hamtramck, though the vehicle is not yet complete. GM has no known plans for a next-generation Impala after shifting much of its focus to crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks.
Source: The Detroit Free Press