What's in store for the Shreveport GM plant and employees - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

What's in store for the Shreveport GM plant and employees

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

On August 31st, all of the production at the Shreveport General Motors plant will stop.

"It's just not a pretty picture at this time," said local UAW President, K.C. Shaw. He says for most of the GM workers, it'll mean a transfer to another city or retirement. But for a few hundred temporary workers it simply means unemployment.

"A plan is in place to help employees transition to other manufacturing jobs.

"We're working out something for employees to try to further education and look for other employment," said Shaw.

For years, city, parish, state leaders, and the UAW have worked to stave off the complete shut-down.

"We were looking for potential buyers…somebody to save it," said Shaw.

The plant even scaled back in production in hopes of delaying or even preventing a full shut-down.

In 2010, after the government bailout, Shreveport workers saw a glint of hope when GM's shares were taken out of the hands of the federal government and made public again. But still, the shut- down of the highly advanced facility loomed.

"It is a good plant, it's been a model plant," said Shaw.

It's hard to overstate GM's economic impact to the Shreveport/Bossier area. At one time 3,000 employees were on the payroll - that's two production shifts and a maintenance crew turning out vehicle after vehicle. Over time, the workforce decreased to just one shift - 800 workers. And unlike other plants, it was a gradual reduction.

"Here in this situation we're talking about going from two shifts and we've had several years of the plant still standing and operating. We've had the time to work with state local level to come up with how it is we move forward," said Mayor Cedric Glover.

According to Glover moving forward will include three options for the closed plant.

The plant can be used should GM ever need to increase production, although that's considered a long shot. The plant can be used for production of other automotive manufacturing or alternative fuel vehicles. Or the plant can be re-purposed for non- automotive manufacturing jobs - which pay less.

"The best case scenario for that outside of GM would be something automotive manufacturing related," said Glover.

Where GM has struggled, industry in Shreveport, according to Glover has grown.

"So those jobs that we're losing directly through gm are being offset by the economic development wins that we're bringing to this community for employees," said Glover.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday that help is on the way.

Two million dollars in federal grant funding will be used to help those plant workers, and it's suppliers who are affected by the closure.

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