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Layoffs expected at GM supplier Lear

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JAMES P. LEUTE
May 5, 2008
— Lear Corp. in Janesville is expected to lay off more than 275 people in Janesville because of production cuts at its largest local customer, General Motors.

When it takes effect this summer, the move will eliminate more than a third of Learís hourly workforce of 670.


Lear is a just-in-time supplier of interiors and seating systems to the Janesville GM plant. Lear wages typically run between $15 and $20 per hour, depending upon the job.


GM announced last week that it will eliminate second-shift production at the close of business on June 26. After a two-week summer vacation shutdown, GM will resume production of Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes and GMC Yukon XLs and Yukons on July 14 with a single shift.


GM has told the state that cutting the second shift would result in the elimination of more than 750 positions.


Sources have told The Janesville Gazette that the Lear layoffs could range from a low of 280 positions to a high of 350.


State Department of Workforce Development officials said this morning they were waiting for official notification from Lear, which could come as early as today.


So far, the GM announcement has resulted in the state being officially notified of a total of 882 layoffs at Janesville employers. With the expected Lear layoffs, that number could reach 1,200.


Logistic Services Inc., another GM supplier in Janesville, said late last week that it will lay off 132 employees in July. LSI and its 235 workers sequence parts and deliver them to the GM plant in Janesville.


Wages at LSI typically range between $10 and $15, with drivers earning more than warehouse workers.


With the Lear layoffs, the Southfield, Mich.-based company would employ about 375 hourly workers in Janesville. Eighteen months ago, the company had 945 hourly workers.


Earlier this year, Lear laid off 89 workers when GM announced it was slowing its two-shift production line from 52 jobs per hour to 44. Those employees were primarily second-shift employees who all had eight years of service at the facility.


Lear began operations in Janesville on a limited basis in 1990. A corporate spokesman said the company had no comment on the layoffs.



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