G.M. has been through a lot over the past year and a half. Our local plant is no exception.
In July 2009 the Fort Wayne plant was temporarily shut down, and later reopened. In July of this year the plant expanded production and in May, gained a 3rd shift. Soon 100 temporary workers will be let go, and replaced with permanent workers. The Plant Manger told me his staff has been through a lot. He asked, Indiana native, Tony Stewart to visit, as a thank you to his staff.
NASCAR Drive, Tony Stewart, wasn't just at the Roanoke facility to shake hands and sign autographs. He also took a lesson in truck building. Stewart says “This is what I like to do. I like coming to plants. I like coming and seeing how the trucks and cars are made from A to Z and see the whole process.”
Stewart proved he's better on the track than the factory floor after accidently slowing down the assembly line. He says “It's fun because you watch these guys and it almost looks like they make it look effortless, but then they put you on a machine and teach you how to run it and you realize you have now just almost all but shut down the assembly line.”
His visit has a more significant meaning, employee appreciation. Stephanie Jentgen, the Plant Communication Manger, says “As G.M. went through the last 18 months with bankruptcy and immerging from bankruptcy there was a lot of decisions that people weren't sure how they were going to impact Fort Wayne. But we knew fairly early on that Fort Wayne was going to be open.”
The plant continues to see more demand. That's given them enough peace of mind to move forward. Soon 100 temporary jobs will become permanent positions. The permanent positions will be hired based on seniority among current laid off workers. None of the temporary workers will stay. 50 permanent workers will start next month. The other 50 will start in January.