Japan Earthquakes Disrupt Production At GM Plant

Posted at 10:18 AM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 20:01:56-04

The General Motors plant in Spring Hill has been affected by the recent earthquakes in Japan. 

UAW President Tim Stannard confirmed to NewsChannel 5 that the earthquake has forced GM’s Spring Hill manufacturing plant to close for at least the next two weeks or until they get things straightened out.

There have been problems in receiving parts from areas impacted by the quake. 

Stannard said the work stoppage was frustrating for everyone because GM has been "trying to build as many cars as we can.”  

Clint Brewer with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development released a statement to NewsChannel 5: 

"It is our understanding this shutdown is very short term and will not change any of the company's annual production plans in Spring Hill. We are hopeful the impact on the workers and local businesses in Spring Hill is minimal. Overall, the state's automotive sector is robust and resilient."

Workers would essentially be laid off for the period of the shutdown. Spring Hill City Administrator Victor Lay was concerned at first knowing the local GM plant has become the backbone of the city. 

"Two weeks is not a long time and you hope folks can get through that fairly easily," Lay said. "To realize that something that can happen across the world affects operations in Spring Hill shows how connected we really are across the world.

The facility in Spring Hill employs 2,643 employees. No word on how many will be directly affected but a GM spokesperson said they are minimizing the impact by moving employees around to other areas of the facility.

Employees with a year or more of seniority would apply for unemployment and supplemental pay, which should total around 80% of their pay. Workers with less time would receive unemployment.

A production run was canceled for Saturday. The shutdown was set to officially begin on Monday.  

A statement released by GM stated the adjustment was not expected to have any material impact on GM's full-year production plans in North America. In further says the company does not expect a dent in the financial results.

Plants in Oshawa, Canada; Lordstown, Ohio; and Fairfax, Kansas were also affected.