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UAW-GM contract lets General Motors axe truck plant after 30-year run

The UAW-General Motors contract has most of the rank and file optimistic about the state of GM, but their jubilance is tempered by the official shutdown of a factory in Shreveport, La. Closing Shreveport Operations for good was the "saddest part" of negotiations, UAW negotiator Joe Ashton told reporters today.


The 3.1 million-square-foot GM Shreveport Operations factory opened in 1981 and in its lifetime was home to the assembly of nine vehicles, all of them trucks.

Assembled by UAW members in Louisiana before the shutdown were the Chevrolet S-10, GMC Sonoma, GMC Syclone, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Isuzu i-Series, the Hummer H3 (pictured) and Hummer H3T.

With the exception of the S-10 and Sonoma, which were strong sellers for years, the plant had the bad fortune of being assigned to build slow sellers.

The end of the line for the Hummer H3 was in Shreveport. GM announced in February 2010 the Hummer H3 would die after it sold only 7,500 of them in 2009. This was after GM had sold between 22,000 and 54,000 of them in prior years. The last Hummer H3 made in Shreveport was on May 24, 2010.

The Colorado and Canyon trucks that were assembled in Louisiana also fell out of favor with buyers, as sales of the two pickups plunged at one point as much as 70% in 2008.

The contract, when ratified Friday night, will officially delete the General Motors plant in Shreveport from UAW representation because it will no longer exist. It will be closed for good instead of idled or put on standby by GM and all UAW members who wanted to keep working were transferred to other facilities.

An auto plant can be shut down but not closed. Auto insiders say a plant that is closed but not shut down is "idled" or "on standby." In this contract, GM chose to idle but not close the Janesville factory in Wisconsin. That means it used to have a product but now is idling until it gets a new one assigned to it.

The Shreveport workers had been asked by GM to take pay cuts in the past, and refused, according to KTAL6 TV in Shreveport. Local UAW President Doug Ebey told the television news station in an interview in 2010 when the plant was still open that the workers would "not stand for" reductions that would give auto workers in Louisiana "poverty" wages. Now there is no longer a plant.

“You’re paying part of your own health insurance and then the taxes that we’re faced with – you’re not making that much," Eby told KTAL6. "Would anybody out there work at their current employer for 50% less, or would you go out and find another career?”

You can reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected]. Or follow him on Twitter @HawkeFracassa.

Image source: Wikipedia


emnusa (not verified)    September 22, 2011 - 3:00PM

The plant was closed because the people of Louisiana voted Republican in the last election. The plant is one of the most modern facilities GM has and it doesn't make sense. Just like it doesn't make sense to not let oil companies drill in the Gulf of Mexico. It doesn't make sense to pay crazy checks to children in public school who act crazy in class. Parents send children to school with instructions to "act crazy" so they can get about $400.00 a month per child. It doesn't make sense to not let Boeing build new plant on east coast because the state is "right to work" state. It doesn't make sense to give billions to the so called GREEN companies because they will never be profitable. It doesn't make sense for our president to turn our country to socialism. It doesn't make sense to raise taxes during a depression. Our President doesn't make good sense!

BellevillePA-C… (not verified)    March 4, 2012 - 3:04PM

In reply to by emnusa (not verified)

Been there. I worked for Case New Holland in Belleville, PA for 15 years. Saw expansion at our plant and finally felt comfortable. My bad. Announced plant closing in late 2007 and then a few weeks later management told us our plant was in top 2 in productivity and quality. Other irony is that the other plant in those categories was also being closed. Plans changed though and let left that plan open after all. So it doesn't matter what kind of people you have, how good your procedures are, whether you take on any model or car or equipment and turn it into a productive one...whether your company dumps millions into your plant to modernize...politics are politics and you get f***ed in the end.

Anonymous (not verified)    June 14, 2012 - 3:01AM

In reply to by emnusa (not verified)

Biggest Hogwash I ever heard. Do you have any idea of how much ELECTRICITY is used by a ONE MILLION Sq Ft. Facility that no longer has a product people are willing to buy.

The problem was Hummer design and poor fuel efficiency design.

The H1 and H2 need a Cummins diesel engine to be efficient, but that is not a GM, but Chrysler product. Gas and Duramax will not make it in gas efficiency.

Therefore, no buyers, no product, no jobs.

That is called MARKET FORCES. Not a DEmocrat / Republican issue, at all.

If we had not let the Japanese in our auto market during the Nixon years, we would still be buying US cars.

Think about it.

By the way. I would not be surprised in you have a Japanese or German car in your driveway. I don't for the very reason that every foreign car we buy deprives an American of a J-O-B.

Buy American whenever possible. The rest is bull.

Anonymous (not verified)    September 23, 2011 - 1:30PM

The employees the the GM plant in Shreveport, LA, are just like all other GM workers who just want more and more money and are not thankfull that they at least have a job.
The workers there are paid very adequate wages for the work they perform there.
They should have to work where i work at the Dana Corporation plant in Longview, Tx, where we make the frames for the vehicles they build. We do the hard work, and don't get paid near as much as the workers at Shreveport do. You should be gratefull instead of being greedy, for you now see that it cost you your jobs and mine also.

Anonymous (not verified)    May 16, 2012 - 5:32PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Are you CRAZY? My dad has worked there for 29 years, he's not greedy. The repetition of his work gun no longer allows him sensation in his hands, and he drops everything, he can hold pressure on anything, the repetition of him bedding and stooping 465 times a day has given him stress fractures in his lower back,in his last two contracts he gave up: the 25$ co pay to doctors, so now he pays whatever the doctors office visit costs! The neurosurgeon he sees due to the building of Ann average od 400 cars a day for 29 years is 150$ each visit! He gave up the reduced co pay on his medicines that he takes, he only takes 13 meds a day due to the open heart surgery he had probably brought on by the stress of working at a pace of 1 vehicle every 49 seconds for so many years! Greed my ass, IF IF IF he makes it to the closing, he will probably be home bound due to direct cause of his work! That's not all he gave up! He gave up, a percent of his retirement, they quit matching 401k deposits, he gave up sub benefits that he would get oaid during a lay off (which he paid into for 27 years!) he gave up a reduction in how much benefit would be paid to hospitals, doctors and caregivers. He gave up over 13% of his former contracts. And the bigger price; his health which they made everyone sign that repetitive motion does not cause damage to ones body. DON'T TALK UNLESS YOU KNOW!

Anonymous (not verified)    May 20, 2012 - 7:07AM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Good post. I worked in Shreveport for over 5 years and now work at the GM Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas. This is my 3rd plant and I hope my last. Been here since 2008. I loved working in LA and would have loved to retire there. As you pointed out, if you don't work there or have a relative working at GM then you don't know what the f**** you are talking about. Maybe I worked along side your father and I wish him the best of everything. Enjoy his well earned and deserved retirement for many, many, many years to come. I made alot of friends there in Shreveport and will always miss the great southern hospitality. I am also a native Texan and am proud that LA was my second home and still is in my heart!!