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GM To Close Foundry In Michigan, Cut Most Jobs at New York Foundry Precede SAGINAW

August 6, 1986

Undated (AP) _ General Motors Corp. announced Wednesday it will phase out one of its six iron foundries, displacing about 1,800 workers in Saginaw, Mich., and said it will eliminate most of the 1,300 jobs at its Central Foundry plant in Massena, N.Y.

Production at Michigan’s Saginaw Nodular Iron Plant, built in 1965, will be reduced beginning this month and end by summer 1988, the company said.

In addition, the gradual phasing out of operations at the Massena, N.Y., aluminum casting foundry will begin at the end of August, GM officials said.

The auto manufacturer said it will end die cast and permanent mold aluminum casting operations in Massena, and retain about 100 workers to operate only its ″lost-foam″ production lines at the New York facility by the end of 1988.

″After careful analysis of our production forecasts, it is clear that we will need less foundry capacity than we now have to meet our customers’ casting requirement in the foreseeable future,″ said George G. Johnston, general manager of the Central Foundry Division.

″To help our competitive position we need to operate with a smaller number of plants,″ Johnston said.

Production machinery at the Massena plant will be transferred to a Central Foundry plant in Bedford, Ind., GM announced.

Company officials also said production would be increased at division foundries in Defiance, Ohio, and Danville, Ill., while other work from Saginaw would be transferred to GM’s Chevrolet-Pontiac-Canada Group operation at St. Catharines, Ontario.

The closure of the Saginaw facility will be the third major foundry closing by the nation’s No. 1 automaker in two years and the third Saginaw plant shut down by GM since 1983.

Last year, GM closed its engine block foundry in Pontiac and in 1984 closed a similar plant in Tonawanda, N.Y.

GM’s Chevrolet Saginaw Parts Plant shut down in 1983, idling 1,000 workers, while Saginaw Division’s Plant 1 closed the following year, forcing the transfer of 350 workers to other Saginaw Division operations.

The Saginaw plant produces crankshafts, disc-brake housings, steering knuckles, exhaust manifolds and transmission, axle and driveline components.

Division officials estimated 800 Nodular Iron workers were eligible for transfer to other Central Foundry or GM plants. GM said Massena Central Foundry workers laid off also may be eligible for transfers.

In June, Johnston disclosed division figures that showed Nodular Iron was operating at 50 percent of capacity, the lowest among Central Foundry’s six iron plants. Property tax losses to Saginaw County, the city of Saginaw and nearby Buena Vista Township would total more than $2 million annually, Johnston said.

Max Ryan, president of United Auto Workers Local 465 in New York, said GM’s decision would be ″devastating″ to Massena, a community of 14,000 people near the New York-Canadian border.

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