Associated Press – May 21, 2004
General Motors Corp. will cut 872 jobs at its Saturn plant near Newport next month, nearly three-quarters of its assembly line work force.
In a letter filed with the Delaware Department of Labor, GM said the permanent reduction of workers will begin as early as June 7.
Dan Flores, spokesman for GM Manufacturing, said some workers could be called back to make the Pontiac Solstice, scheduled for production next summer, and an unnamed Saturn sports car the following year.
The layoffs come as GM moves to discontinue the Saturn L-series sedan and wagon this summer, a year earlier than planned. Last year, the plant was shut down for 12 weeks because of weak sales, and 400 workers were laid off as production was trimmed to one shift.
“Ultimately, we couldn’t justify continuing the product because the market didn’t want the product,” Flores said.
The Newport plant now employs 1,200 assembly workers.
The end of the L-series and the upcoming idling of the plant for more than 10 months is expected to have an impact beyond plant employees. The Saturn plant contributed about $315 million to the state’s economy in direct and indirect jobs last year, according to the Delaware Economic Development Office.
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