Future of GM Janesville plant after moving off standby status – WMTV

Posted: Friday, October 30, 2015

UPDATED Thursday, October 29, 2015—10:23 p.m.

Janesville city leaders are making plans for the all but officially closed GM assembly plant.

It’s been about 6 years since the plant shut down, and now the facility is part of a contract agreement reached between United Auto Workers union leaders and GM.

The assembly plant will be closed during the term of the 4 year agreement; it had “standby” status in the previous contract.

“Honestly we’re welcoming that decision because it gives us some closure, and we can start moving forward now,” said Maggie Hrdlicka, Janesville Management Information Specialist.

The Janesville community can now grieve what appears to be the end of the line for its former auto making facility.

“It’s a big part of history so it’s not taken lightly, this decision; it’s unfortunate, but I don’t think there were many people that were optimistic,” said Hrdlicka.

Anticipating this decision, Janesville city staff recently drafted a salvage ordinance and will draft changes to the demolition ordinance for the plant’s site.

Members of the Local 95 United Auto Workers tried to stay hopeful. They fought to reopen the doors of the plant.

They sent out a release apologizing for the soon to be shuttered windows.

While the Local 95 comes to grips with the news, city developers are focusing on what comes next.

The plant and land are still owned by GM, so they will make the first decision.

With nearly 100 years of machinery working in the building there may be some environmental challenges with developing the site.

“As you can imagine, people have been better stewards in more recent time than in the distant past,” said Gale Price, Janesville Economic Development Director.

Down the line, those in Janesville are looking into what other assembly plants have changed into. A former plant in Columbus, Ohio became a casino. Another in Baltimore, MD became a part of a shipping harbor.

Unlike the machines that were once built inside the plant, these changes won’t come together quickly.

“This is not something that’s going to happen overnight unfortunately. This is going to be probably a two or three year process,” said Price.


UPDATED Thursday, October 29, 2015—8:03 a.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — A tentative contract agreement between General Motors and United Auto Workers ends any hope GM might once again use the idled facility.

The plant once employed 7,000 automakers during its peak in the 1970s. The 4.8 million-square-foot plant has been closed since 2009, but placed on “standby” status under the old contract in the event GM would need the production space again.

The Janesville Gazette reports UAW representatives say the new contract agreement moves the plant from “standby” status to “closed.”

Hundreds of UAW Local 95 members who once worked at the plant have taken jobs at other GM plants. John Dohner now works at a GM plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but travels home to Janesville on weekends. Dohner says he still had hope the Janesville plant would someday reopen.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

JANESVILLE, Wis. — United Auto Workers leaders have approved a contract with General Motors Co. The contract mentions the shuttered GM facility in Janesville.

The contract book, which is hundreds of pages long, identifies the Janesville assembly plant as one that will be closed during the term of the agreement. The automaker shut down the plant for good in 2009. It’s been on standby since.

Workers at GM’s 63 U.S. facilities now must vote on the agreement for it to take effect. The 4-year contract covers more than 52,000 factory workers. It would give longtime workers their first raises in nearly a decade.

The UAW and GM reached the proposed agreement Sunday night, just before a deadline the union had set to strike.

Copyright: NBC15 News, The Associated Press


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