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GM scraps summer shutdown, will hire thousands of temp workers

June 17, 2010

GM scraps summer shutdown, will hire thousands of temp workers

The Detroit News

Most General Motors Co. plants will keep building vehicles during the traditional summer shutdown next month, an unprecedented move to meet demand for certain vehicles.

Nine of GM’s 11 assembly plants — including four in Michigan — will keep producing from June 28 through July 9, GM said today.

Most U.S. stamping and powertrain plants also will work during that time, helping GM produce another 56,000 vehicles.

GM has struggled to meet demand for certain vehicles, including the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia, and have added third shifts at several plants this year, among various moves.

"Our manufacturing teams are taking creative approaches to increase production and reduce the wait times for our dealers and customers," said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America.

The assembly plants that will stay open are: Detroit-Hamtramck; Flint; Lansing Delta Township; Lansing Grand River; Arlington, Texas; Bowling Green, Ky.; Fairfax, Kan.; Fort Wayne, Ind. and Wentzville, Mo.

GM historically has kept one or two plants open for a portion or all of the summer shutdown, but never has the automaker kept this many plants open during the summer break, spokeswoman Kim Carpenter said.

GM is allowed to reschedule traditional shutdown weeks under its agreement with the United Auto Workers. When it is impossible to schedule shutdowns, GM can hire temporary workers to provide vacation coverage.

GM will need to hire thousands of temporary workers to cover for UAW workers who have scheduled vacation. The temporary workers will receive safety and quality training, GM said.

"Throughout the vacation season, we’ve always brought in some summer help," Carpenter said.

Chrysler Group LLC will continue with its traditional summer shutdown. This year the plants will be idled for the weeks of July 12 and 19.

Salaried workers do not have to take their vacation during this period, a reversal of a policy that was in place for two years under the ownership of Cerberus Capital Management LP. Under Fiat SpA management, Chrysler decided late last year to allow salaried workers to choose their summer time off.

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