Tuesday, August 28, 2012: The last truck rolls off the production line at Shreveport's General Motors plant (Source: Facebook)
On the back of the last truck to roll off the line Tuesday, someone had placed a sign that said, "That's all, folks!"
GM Shreveport (Source: racertrust.org)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
It's the end of the line for Shreveport's General Motors assembly plant.
The final truck was expected to roll off the line closer to the end of the week, but a GM spokesperson confirms the timeline for completing the final batch of Chevy Colorados was moved up, explaining that the manufacturing process is a fluid one.
The last truck to be manufactured here rolled off the line early Tuesday afternoon. On the front, a banner showing it was the 8,853,693rd to do so. On the back, someone had placed a sign that said, "That's all, folks!"
Now, the decommissioning process will begin, and the property will be turned over to the RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust, the company that now holds the property and leases it to GM. The trust was set up and tasked with cleaning up, maintaining and selling 89 former GM plants in 14 states in the wake of the automaker's bankruptcy.
On it's final day of production, just over 800 hourly and salaried workers were on the clock. Once the line shuts down, only a few dozen workers will remain for the decommissioning process. At one time 3,000 employees were on the payroll.
One of those now left without work is Tim Dennter, a chassis team leader who has applied for work with other employers, but hasn't heard anything back yet. "I've got three boys and a wife. Luckily, my wife works. She can get health insurance. We'll figure something out. I ain't worked in the automotive business my whole life. I can do other work." Still, Dennter is hoping to be transferred to another plant, like so many others out of work now.
In May, some 200 GM employees accepted the company's offer for voluntary retirements. Others went back to school with federal grant money to be re-trained.
As for the plant itself, according to Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, moving forward will include three options for the closed plant. It could 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.