Local GM Production Nearly Back on Track After Supplier Fire

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

It was a factory fire that took more than a million gallons of water to put out and somehow it spared the production area GM's Lansing plants rely on.

"We got lucky. I'm not sure the fire went around us but somebody was smiling down on us," said Brian Fredline, president of UAW Local 602.

The fired consumed forty percent of the Magna Atreum plant, but just a quarter of its production area. The Howell supplier makes interior parts used by automakers like Ford, Chrysler, and GM.

"It takes a while nowadays to line up a new supplier, but I'm sure there were plenty of them that saw an opportunity," said Fredline.

An opportunity they never got the chance to act on because it turns out, by Sunday night the supplier will be back in its own plant producing those critical parts. But it was a close call, and there was a lot at stake.

"If we wouldn't have been able to line up a supplier or if Magna were not able to produce it would have meant layoffs for quite some time for our workforce," said Fredline.

There will still be layoffs -- but not as many as GM thought. Workers at Lansing Delta and Lansing Regional Stamping should report as usual Monday for first and second shift. Only the third shift is suspended. Tuesday shifts will resume as usual. So what could have been a major production break becomes a minor one -- good news for GM, says the Michigan Manufactuer's Association.

"They need to keep their people working. You're talking about some of the hottest selling cars GM has I mean they need to have them out there to sell them, same thing with Chrysler, same thing with Ford. Now's a good time. They're selling cars. They dont want to slow that production down if they can help it," said Chuck Hadden, president and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturer's Association.

All of tomorrow's shifts at Lansing Delta and Lansing Regional stamping are still off.

Those have been rescheduled for next Saturday.

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