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Local GM cancels 4 shifts

Lack of parts led to time off; workers must make it up

A lack of parts has forced officials at General Motors Co.’s Allen County truck assembly plant to cancel at least four shifts this week.

But workers will have to make up the unexpected time off.

GM spokeswoman Stephanie Jent­gen blamed “a breakdown at a supplier” for the problem that affected shifts Monday night and throughout Tuesday. GM doesn’t reveal supplier names for competitive reasons, she said in an email.

GM assembly line workers are required to work this Saturday – beginning with third shift Friday night – to make up for production losses, according to a recorded message from the company and a posting on the union’s website. United Auto Workers Local 2209 repre­sents hourly workers in the plant.

The local plant employs about 4,000 hourly and salaried workers on three shifts. They build Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

GM gave workers one week off for summer break this year, the week of July 7, which followed the three-day weekend that began with Independence Day. Workers received two weeks off last year, w­hen the company was transitioning to next-generation truck production. Jentgen said two-week shut­downs are no longer standard at GM’s manufacturing operations.

“It all is determined by business needs and market demand,” she said.

Salaried employees have continued to work during the shutdown, Jentgen said. Some hourly workers, including skilled trades, have also been called in, she said. Manufacturers typically use shutdowns as opportunities to make necessary re­pairs and do routine maintenance, work that can be difficult to do during peak production.

Hourly workers are paid for the lost time according to the national union contract, the spokeswoman said.