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19. October 2016

USA - General Motors plans cuts at Defiance foundry

Certain iron parts to be phased out; 150 jobs will be lost

General Motors Co. plans to stop making certain cast-iron engine parts at its Defiance foundry over the next year and a half, a move that will result in the loss of about 150 jobs.

The company recently notified employees of the plans and confirmed the details to The Blade on Friday.

GM spokesman Kevin Nadrowski said the components being phased out are those made of nodular iron  a more impact-resistant form of the metal used for engine parts such as crankshafts.

General Motors Co. plans to stop making certain cast-iron engine parts at its Defiance foundry over the next year and a half, a move that will result in the loss of about 150 jobs.

GM previously announced plans to stop making cast-iron engine blocks and cylinder heads at the Defiance foundry. That move was expected to lead to the loss of about 135 jobs. Officials said the plant will continue making aluminum blocks and heads for a variety the company’s six and eight-cylinder engines.

As for the nodular iron components, Mr. Nadrowski said GM still uses them, but producing them is no longer a core part of the company’s business model and that current production levels at Defiance aren’t enough to be profitable.

He also said that, if GM were to continue making the parts in Defiance, it would need to make substantial changes.

“To upgrade the equipment would have been cost prohibitive,” he said.

“I don’t know the age of the equipment, but it would have been significant to upgrade to compete at global standards.”

In spite of the changes, officials say the 68-year-old plant is still a valuable facility.

“The plant is there. It’s going to have 800-plus employees,” Mr. Nadrowski said. “It’s still very important in the GM world.”

According to a company news release, the plant has 1,128 employees.

Keith Boecker, president of United Auto Workers Local 211 at the plant, wasn’t available on Friday, and the union’s GM unit Chairman Rob Egnor didn’t return a call seeking comment.

GM officials said many of the workers set to be laid off from Defiance would have opportunities elsewhere in Ohio and Indiana.

Included in the terms of 2015 labor agreement between GM and the UAW was a call for 315 new jobs at Defiance connected to a new, unspecified powertrain components.

Source: toledoblade.com

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