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UAW leaders expect production at Flint engine plant to ramp up around Nov. 1

About 400 workers at GM’s Flint Engine Operations plant are still waiting anxiously to get back to work
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - About 400 workers at GM’s Flint Engine Operations plant are still waiting to get back to work.

The issue started in February with the semiconductor chip shortage, and now, one regional union leader says he expects production to start back up around Nov. 1.

At the Flint Engine Operations plant, workers build two engines: the small gas engine and the small diesel engine, and the reason it’s taking so long is because of the global chip issue.

”There is no short of demand and need for the products. It’s just that we’re being held hostage with this chip issue,” Steve Dawes said. Dawes is the UAW Region 1D Director.

Employees at General Motors’ Flint Engine Operations plant were laid off indefinitely.

“The summer has been okay to have some time off, but everybody is ready to get back to work. They want to come back to work. They want to build the highest quality products as they always do. They take pride in their work, and they want to come back to work,” Dawes said.

The problem stems from GM’s CAMI Assembly plant in Canada. Since the plant in Canada has a shortage of semiconductor chips, it stops the Flint Engine Operations plant from building their small gas engines like for the Chevy Equinox. It’s the same with the diesel side for the light-duty truck program.

Months later, about 400 workers are still waiting anxiously.

“I think the biggest concern and the biggest disheartening part is not knowing. It’s one thing if you know you’ll be off for X amount of time, but when you think you’re getting laid off for six weeks and now they extend it to eight weeks and then ten weeks and fourteen weeks, that gets a little disheartening not knowing,” Dawes said.

Now, Dawes says there is some light at the end of the tunnel. With some of the microchips slowly coming in, production is expected to ramp up around Nov. 1.

He says it’s not as many as he’d like to see, but it’s a step in the right direction. He added this is still an issue nationwide, and to prevent this from happening again, he says the issue needs to be solved within our own borders.

“If this country didn’t learn a lesson, we need to start building these things in our country where we have direct control over them not this third place where we have no control,” Dawes said

Dawes says this global chip issue effects all parts of production, not just engine. It’s also manufacturing, shipping, trucking, and delivery.

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