GM to slow production, lay off employees at Oklahoma City plant

Wednesday, December 8th 2004, 6:18 am

By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ General Motors Corp. will slow production and layoff hundreds of workers at its Oklahoma City assembly plant to adjust to market conditions, officials said.

Between 250 and 300 employees will lose their jobs and the factory will be shut down the first two weeks of January, officials said Tuesday. Workers will return Jan. 18.

Officials cited the need to balance supply and demand in the competitive mid-size, sport utility vehicle markets as reasons for the cutbacks.

The plant employs more than 2,600 people who make seven-passenger versions of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Isuzu Ascender, as well as the GMC Envoy XUV.

The assembly line speed will decrease from 42 jobs per hour to 32 jobs per employee hour, a reduction of 24 percent.

``Under ideal circumstances, we would run every plant at maximum capacity,'' said GM spokesman Dan Flores. ``But we're not immune to the marketplace, and there are times when we have to make adjustments.''

The production cuts also will affect some area GM suppliers. Based on GM's cuts, Logistics Insights in Oklahoma City could lay off about 20 people from its work force of 115, plant manager Bill Sauer said.

Managers at Oklahoma City-based companies Collins & Aikman and Johnson Controls Inc. couldn't be reached for comment.

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Inalfa Roof Systems Inc., which makes the sliding rear roof for the GMC Envoy XUV, has closed its Oklahoma City factory.

GM shut down its Oklahoma City plant in four, weeklong increments earlier this year. The plant will remain on two shifts when production resumes in January

During the January shutdown, GM workers will receive about 75 percent of their net normal wages from a combination of company-paid supplemental unemployment benefits and state unemployment benefits.

Layoffs will be determined by seniority, and workers who are let go will get similar wages and retain their health benefits under the United Auto Workers contract.

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