Thursday, February 25, 2010

Plan to save GM jobs.

The drive to save hundreds of Shreveport General Motors jobs is speeding up.

Wednesday the automaker announced the Hummer brand sale to a Chinese company failed. Workers hoped the deal would keep our facility open longer. GM says Shreveport’s plant could close in the coming months.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins joins us live in the studio, with more on a plan to not only save jobs, but boost our local economy as well.

There's a lot we can do with the plant if GM leaves. Leaders say some creative options could keep work for hundreds of families here in Shreveport.

“I got to go where life says I got to go." General Motors worker Jo Gates knows the end of the line is near. The Hummer sale to a Chinese company failed. Demand for Shreveport’s other brands, the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado, is down. GM says the plant will close no later than June 2012. “June 2012 will come quickly."

Leaders are preparing. This morning, Caddo parish attorney Charles Grubb participated in a conference call held by the Louisiana secretary of economic development. Grubb says state leaders are strategizing ways to keep jobs in Shreveport after GM pulls out. “The bottom line is we are all optimistic that other uses will be found for this plant."

The plant is owned by Motors Liquidation, after the automaker filed bankruptcy. Grubb says the liquidation company has a government obligation, to help find a new tenant. “Whatever we need to do to get other uses for plant."

The uses range from any manufacturing, not just auto.
Grubb says one large company could use the facility or several businesses. “That plant has a lot of things going for it." Like location, it's close to rail access, and interstate highways.
The parish says it could even offer tax incentives to lure business
And save jobs; about 970 people work at the plant, according to
United auto workers president Doug Ebey. “It's going to affect their families. Neighborhoods, you'll see signs going up for sale. People's houses and property values will go down."

Gates say she's already leaving Shreveport, to transfer to an Indiana plant. “I want to stay with GM."

Not just GM employees are affected. About 450 people work for six local auto industry suppliers. 30 percent of their business was with Hummer. The Shreveport supplier union president says no word on any layoffs yet.

General Motors has a long history in Shreveport. Back in 1970 Caddo parish donated the land where the plant was built. Then twenty years later in 1990, the parish donated more land for the plant's expansion, and 7 years ago, in 2003, Shreveport GM started building hummer.

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