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Slow sales, parts shortage affect GM plant in Texas

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JAMES P. LEUTE
April 30, 2008
— Weak demand for full-size sport utility vehicles and a shortage of critical parts have forced General Motors to lay off second-shift workers at an assembly plant in Arlington, Texas.

Workers at the GM assembly plant in Janesville, who also build the big SUVs, learned Monday that the automaker would cut the local plant’s second shift in July. The result will be the loss of at least 750 jobs.


While the second-shift cut in Janesville is permanent, the Arlington cut will be for next week only.


All Arlington workers are in the third and final week of a three-week layoff tied to the United Auto Workers strike against American Axle, which supplies GM with axles and other parts for SUVs and pickup trucks. First-shift workers in Arlington will resume production next week while second-shifters will continue on lay off.


The Arlington plant, which has about 2,400 hourly workers, builds Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes and GMC Yukon XLs and Yukons. About 2,600 hourly employees also make those four vehicles in Janesville.


But Arlington workers also build Cadillac Escalades, Escalade ESVs and the two-mode hybrid versions of Tahoes and Yukons.


A GM spokesman said Tuesday that Arlington’s wider product mix was the reason it avoided the permanent second-shift cut that landed on the Janesville plant.


The Arlington plant has ranked consistently higher than Janesville in the annual Harbour Report on plant productivity.


Enrique “JR” Flores Jr., president of UAW Local 276 that represents hourly workers at the Arlington plant, told the Dallas Morning News: “We're happy we have what we’ve got.


“We're also saddened about what happened at Janesville. But we understand what is happening out there.”



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