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GM timeline

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Gazette Staff
April 29, 2008

Here are selected events in the history of the General Motors assembly plant in Janesville:


-- 1978: Employment reaches a new peak at the General Motors plant in Janesville: 7,100 employees—6,450 hourly, 650 salaried—make 274,000 full-size Chevrolet Caprices and 114,700 pickup trucks for Chevy and GMC.


-- 1980: Layoffs begin on both shifts on both lines as sales slump industrywide.


-- 1981: Chevrolet ends full-size automobile production that began in 1923.


-- 1982: Production of compact Chevrolet Cavalier and Cadillac Cimarron begins on one shift with 2,500 workers. Truck line layoffs continue intermittently.


-- 1983: Second-shift car-line workers are called back to work. Full employment now is 6,500, including 5,600 hourly employees.


-- 1984: GM announces pickup production—and 1,800 jobs—will move from Janesville to Fort Wayne, Ind. 1,250 local workers accept transfers to Fort Wayne.


-- 1985: United Auto Workers Local 95 members vote to change their working conditions—the chief change is a new work week of four 10-hour days—to try to win a replacement product.


-- 1986: GM announces that Janesville will receive crew-cab pickups as an interim product to be built by 1,100 people, 700 fewer than the previous pickup line.


-- 1987: GM announces that Janesville will receive the remodeled version of its medium-duty truck, which will be transferred here from Flint, Mich. Total employment, hourly and salaried, stands at 6,500.


-- 1989: Medium-duty truck production starts here with about 1,200 jobs, not the 1,800 originally announced by GM.


-- 1990: Compact car production ends in Janesville. The plant is being renovated to make full-size sport-utility vehicles. Employment stands at 5,500—4,950 hourly, 550 salaried.


-- 1991: SUV production starts at a slow pace.


-- 1994: GM and Isuzu Motors work together to make commercial cab forward medium-duty trucks in Janesville. 600 workers from other idled GM plants transfer to Janesville.


-- 1999: Janesville plant starts making a new generation of full-size SUVs while trying to boost productivity by eliminating jobs.


-- 2002: Production of medium-duty trucks moves back to Flint, Mich., taking 800 jobs with it.


-- 2004: GM announces the next generation of full-size SUVs will be made in Janesville and two other plants.


-- 2008: GM announces it will eliminate the second-shift and about 750 jobs at the Janesville plant in July. Before the announcement, employment totals a little more than 2,800.



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