Delphi Flint East to close, second auto plant this year - WNEM TV 5

Delphi Flint East to close, second auto plant in Genesee Co. this year

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Employees at Delphi Flint East were informed Tuesday that operations at the facility will cease in November of 2013.

About 287 hourly employees work at the Flint facility. Of those, about 50 are actually General Motors employees and have recall rights to any other GM facility where openings occur. The remainder, about 237 people, will be out of a job.

Forty white collar jobs will be lost and more than 230 hourly workers will be laid off. Delphi and GM reached a unique arrangement at the Flint East plant back in 2007. GM provided hourly employees, while Delphi employed the management team.

"Starting in March or April, people will start losing their jobs and they'll run all the way until November, and the plant will be closed indefinitely," said plant employee Amos Drew.

Drew makes circuit boards for instrument panels in GM trucks and has for the last 6 1/2 years.  He said the news is unfortunate.

"Yeah, it's just disappointing. I mean I'm going to live, it's not a big deal. I mean, what are you going to do?" said Drew.

The announcement comes shortly after UAW Local 651 members voted to authorize a strike against the automaker. Officials say the decision to cease operations at the site was made before that vote took place.

On Tuesday, Congressman Dan Kildee issued the following statement regarding the Delphi Flint East plant closing:
"My thoughts go out to those employees and families affected by today's announcement. Job losses and plant closures not only negatively impact the hardworking employees, but the entire community as well.
"Today's news is a clear example of why we must continue to fight for trade policies that promote economic growth in Michigan and the rest of the country, not overseas.  Creating good-paying jobs for our communities and growing our economy, especially our manufacturing sector, remains my main focus in Congress.
"My staff and I stand ready to assist families impacted by job losses in our community."
Businesses near the plant believe there will be a big impact.
"I just felt my stomach drop when I heard (the news).  I'm just hoping we can stay alive here and keep business going," said John Henderson, manager of Jammin's Lounge.
"Anytime you lose anything in town, it takes a bite out of business a little bit," said Kosta Popoff, owner of Starlite Coney Island.

Laid off workers will be eligible for state unemployment and GM supplemental jobless benefits. Currently, GM has 6 different facilities in Genesee County. With Tuesday's announcement, the number will drop to four in November. Two weeks ago, GM announced it will close the Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center.

The auto company wants to consolidate the operations at the plant into other facilities. More than 350 employees will be affected, but they won't lose their job.

Instead they will be offered employment at other plants. That plant will close in July.

Stay with and TV5 as we learn more about what these closing means for Genesee County.

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