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Layoffs coming to GM Flint Assembly plant due to ongoing semiconductor shortage

Production shifting only to heavy duty pickup trucks on first shift for one week only
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:26 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - The effect of the global semiconductor chip shortage on the automotive industry is being felt in Flint.

Big but temporary changes start at the General Motors Flint Assembly plant next week.

“You always should prepare for this. It’s sometimes feast or fathom,” said Paul Muehlenbeck Jr. of United Auto Workers Local 598.

General Motors announced they will only run production of the the company’s bread and butter heavy duty trucks on first shift starting next week and for next week only. That just so happens to be Muehlenbeck’s shift, so some of his co-workers though will be laid off for the week.

“You cut a week, that’s a nice vacation, especially in the middle of summertime,” he said. “So you probably won’t have too many people fighting that.”

GM’s heavy duty truck production has continued literally nonstop since the plant reopened last year after a coronavirus pandemic shutdown. Between three shifts every 24-hour period, Flint Assembly cranks out more than 1,000 heavy duty pickup trucks.

As demand surged, the automaker upped its production by 1,000 trucks per month. But they needed more people to meet production goals, so the automaker’s first job fair in Flint drew more than 1,000 people. They made contingent offers to around 800 part-time temporary workers.

Now, many of them are getting a true taste of the volatility of the auto industry.

“The tell tale signs are the other places. (Lansing Delta Township), Lansing, Indiana -- when they start idling those plants and gas prices going up, you better keep your eyes open,” Muehlenbeck said.

These temporary production changes are only in effect for next week. Full production at Flint Assembly is expected to resume Aug. 2.

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