Countdown to Closing Craft Centre

By: Beth Shayne
By: Beth Shayne

"When I started, we were forging--building rear ends. Then we were making the Reatta, the J-car and the EV1 and now the SSR," explains Joe Schneider, a craftsman at GM's Lansing Craft Centre for 35 years.

Like that long list of the cars he's made, his life was assembled at the now-closing plant.

"This is where I hired in at. This is where I'll retire from," Schneider says.

"It's a family--we're a family inside the plant," explains Dee Evans. She has just 7 years in, but she says she'll leave for a new job in Ohio, also feeling better for her time here.

"The only regret I have is saying goodbye to everybody."

In all, "everybody" includes about 400 employees. Most of the hourly ones will apply for unemployment through GM and hope for new jobs in the area. The salaried workers will be transferred.

"My focus is on getting the vehicle built right to the end," says Rick Heithaus, plant manager.

The SSR is retiring for good. The two final vehicles built on Friday will both be two-tones. One will be sent to GM's Heritage center. The other will be auctioned off for charity.

In all, nearly 25,000 SSR's drove off the line in all.


WILX 500 American Road Lansing, MI 48911 517-393-0110
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