Japan quake causes GM plant shut down

By Fred Childers – bio|email

Shreveport, la (KSLA) –  The GM plant in Shreveport is the first one to feel the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The union announced today that the plant will turn out the lights and cease production due to the shortage of an unspecified component.

The absence of this part from Japan means 800 GM workers will not return to work next week.

A hefty blow to workers that was followed up with another - that there's no return to work date.

"Hopefully it won't last very long," said one worker at the end of his shift while speeding off from the parking lot.

Workers were informed of the shortage around noon on Thursday.

"Well the workforce will be laid off, which is not always good news. We're a manufacturing facility, and we like to build trucks. That's what we like to do," said Local UAW 2166 president, Doug Ebey.

Employees will return Friday then wait indefinitely.

The news comes at a time when the plant was enjoying somewhat of a reprieve from bad news. After the economy tanked, the facility saw several setbacks, including a major scale back in production, employee layoffs, and the unsuccessful quest to find a buyer for the Hummer brand.

Mayor Cedric Glover wrote in an email that while concerned, he remains optimistic that the plant will recover soon.

And referring to the plant's problems before the earthquake he wrote "We'll also continue our efforts to find long-term options for the plant itself. ''

The UAW members are laid off, however they will continue to be compensated a slightly less amount than their original salaries.

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