Janesville32.9°

Lear to close when GM ends production

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Stacy Vogel
October 18, 2008
— The Department of Workforce Development made the official announcement Friday that Janesville has been anticipating since Monday: Lear Corp. will close its Janesville plant when the local General Motors plant stops production of sport utility vehicles.

The Southfield, Mich.-based company gave the department notice of the permanent layoff of 371 workers beginning Dec. 23, the same day the GM plant will stop making SUVs, according to a news release.


Lear, 3708 Enterprise Drive, makes seating systems for the GM plant.


GM announced Monday it will stop production of SUVs at its Janesville plant, affecting 1,150 hourly and 130 salaried workers. About 40 employees who build medium-duty trucks in a partnership between GM and Isuzu are expected to work through May.


Lear employees probably will receive 26 weeks of state unemployment pay that will max out at $355 per week. Unlike GM workers, they are not eligible for supplemental unemployment benefits in their union contract.


Lear wages typically run between $15 and $20 an hour. The plant had 945 hourly workers two years ago but laid off workers as GM announced it would slow its Janesville production line and then eliminate its second shift.


Local officials are trying to convince GM to bring another line to the Janesville plant. The company announced in June it would close the Janesville plant by the end of 2010.


It is unknown how a new production line would affect employment at Lear.


The Department of Workforce Development is working with the working with Southwest Workforce Development Board to help laid-off Lear workers, the department release says.


Other local plants, including LSI, Janesville, and United Industries, Beloit, also are expected to close or lay off workers in the wake of GMs announcement Monday.



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