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Union official: $32 million at Flint Assembly bringing changes to GM trucks in 3 years

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 7:30 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - The $32 million investment from General Motors at the Flint Assembly plant will help pave the way for big changes to the automaker’s heavy-duty pickup trucks in three years.

GM announced the investment on Tuesday as part of a $150 million plan for Michigan plants. GM is spending another $2 billion to renovate and retool the Spring Hill Manufacturing complex in Tennessee for electric vehicle production.

News of the investment came nearly one year after GM and the United Auto Workers settled a 40-day strike in the fall of 2019.

Eric Welter, the bargaining chairman for the Flint Assembly plant’s union, said some of the $32 million project likely is already in place. He said GM is preparing for product changes, but couldn’t discuss any specifics of what is coming or whether any new jobs will be created in Flint.

“You know, we used to run models a long time and GM found that if they make changes more rapidly we keep a lot of happy customers that want the new product -- and they’ve done a really good job with that,” Welter said.

Right now, the Flint Assembly plant is making the popular heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. Welter said the changes to these trucks won’t come for another three years, but he knows customers will appreciate them.

Reflecting on the strike taking place during this time last year, Welter said he’s grateful. GM and the UAW came to terms on Oct. 25, 2019, to get workers back in the plants.

“Of course, we did that and a pandemic. So, it’s been a rough, rough 12 months,” Welter said. “But, you know, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I got a very strong workforce and they’re, they’re pushing through and and putting product out for General Motors, so it’s all coming to an end and we’re moving forward.”

Employees are feeling higher morale and encouragement with GM’s $32 million investment, especially as they see other plants cutting shifts and sending workers elsewhere.

“You know if you’ve got GM investing in your product in three years that the demand will shoot up again with the new investment,” Welter said. “So it really does give you a nice horizon of, even though truck demand is so high right now, we now know that three years, then we’ll have another boost in demand from product changes. So it is really important.”

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