GM calls UAW workers back to plants, targeting truck assembly firstOctober 26, 2019
General Motors alerted its employees that now that UAW members have ratified an agreement and ended their strike, work is to resume Monday with first shift.
The automaker also said it wants to get production running even sooner for the high-demand, profitable pickups.
The company has started calling UAW workers at Flint Assembly and Fort Wayne Assembly in Roanoke, Indiana, seeking volunteers to work Saturday and Sunday, said a person familiar with GM’s plans.
“GM plans to run two volunteer shifts Saturday and Sunday” at Flint and Fort Wayne, said the person. “Management will ask all the employees, highest seniority first, if they are interested in working Saturday or Sunday and if they say no, they go down to the next one on the list and ask.”
GM builds the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 at Fort Wayne. At Flint, GM builds the heavy-duty 2020 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Crew and regular cab pickups.
About 46,000 UAW workers went on a nationwide strike at Sept. 16 and ended the stoppage when members ratified a four-year contract officially on Friday.
The strike cost GM more than $1 billion, analysts have estimated. While it had stockpiled vehicles in inventory, losing production for six weeks is likely to be a point of pain, analysts said.
That’s why getting pickup production going is crucial. Just days into the strike, GM’s other plant that builds its regular-duty pickups, Silao Assembly Plant in Silao, Mexico, was idled because of a parts shortage. Then, GM had to partially idle Ramos Arizpe Vehicle Assembly in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. There, Chevrolet Blazer SUV production was halted on Oct. 19 because of a parts shortage. It is still building the Chevrolet Equinox SUV.
GM declined to say when its Mexico plants would be running again. The restart at Silao depends on how quickly Grand Rapids Operations can resume building crucial engine components needed for the pickups. GM’s Romulus Powertrain plant and Tonawanda Engine Plant in Buffalo, New York, build Blazer engines.
“We’re obviously focused on getting all of our operations back up and running as quickly as we can,” said GM spokesman Dan Flores.
In Canada, GM’s truck line at its Oshawa plant in Ontario is expected to restart Monday, said a person familiar with GM’s plans. That plant builds the outgoing model of the Silverado and Sierra pickups. The Oshawa car line started last week and finished its build-out of the Chevrolet Impala sedan, which is being discontinued when Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly finishes building the Impala at the end of January. Detroit-Hamtramck also builds the Cadillac CT6 sedan. GM has not announced the fate of the CT6 yet.