GM Adds Eight-Week Shutdown at Lansing Craft Centre

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The nearly 400 hourly Lansing Craft Centre employees are on layoff this week and next, and now they learn it will continue through much of the spring and summer.

GM has added the weeks of April 18, 25, and May 23, May 30, June 6, June 13, June 20, and June 27 to the downtime schedule. Employees won't come back to work shutdown-free until July 18, following a corporate-wide annual shutdown in July. It's likely they'll resume making the 2006 model, which means they'll produce only a few more on the 2005 line.

The good news and the irony: GM says the sales of the Chevy SSR were the best they've ever seen in March, beating even a corporate expectation. Craft Centre makes 40 cars per day. Production was in-line with demand in the month of March.

Tony Totty, UAW 1618 shop negotiator, says the shutdown's primary hardship is worry among employees. "They're concerned about the future, and rightfully so."

They've already seen 45 jobs cut from the plant as GM reduced production from 70 cars per day to 40. They've also experienced 10 total weeks of shutdowns this winter.

Union president Brian Fredline says they're looking forward to a better year with the 2006 model on the line.

In an internal memo and again to News 10, GM expresses confidence in the car as a niche vehicle, and reasserts commitment to making it. They've added ad dollars to the marketing budget for it, and are confidant warmer weather will boost sales of the convertible truck.