Laid off workers from GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant could be transferred to Mid-Michigan

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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (12/04/19) -- A little over 800 salaried and hourly employees will be laid off at General Motors' Detroit-Hamtramck plant come the end of February next year.

Some of the workers could end up at various GM plants in Mid-Michigan. The move comes as the automaker will be retooling the plant for electric vehicle production.

United Auto Workers Region 1D Assistant Director Steve Dawes sees the layoffs as more of an inconvenience for workers and not necessarily something bad.

"We went through it in Lansing when they closed the Oldsmobile plant and then built a brand new plant and retooled it," Dawes said.

The UAW represents 753 employees who no longer will be employed at the plant starting Feb. 28. Eligible workers will be left with two options.

"If anybody currently that is working that is eligible to apply under appendix A, if they move. Then they would go by seniority and fill the openings as requested," Dawes said.

However, workers would not have recall or bumping rights back to Hamtramck.

The second option?

"Once people are laid off, they can sign to go somewhere or they will be offered to go somewhere," Dawes said. "If they are signed to go while on layoff or offered to go while on layoff, they will be able to move and they will retain their recall rights back to Hamtramck."

Dawes said some of the affected workers could end up in GM plants in Mid-Michigan or Ohio, but it's too early to tell which plants and how many workers. Workers will also be able to collect 20 weeks unemployment before sub pay kicks in.

"The UAW is the only institution that allows people to move to retain their wages, their benefits, their seniority that type of thing," Dawes said. "They're working through those issues right now."

GM wanted to close the Hamtramck plant, but under the new UAW contract, it will remain open. However, it's unclear how long it will take to retool the plant to build a new electric pickup truck.