LANSING, Mich. — General Motors is extending its production pause at the Lansing Delta Township plant for a fifth straight week.
The plant originally halted production on July 19, expecting a two-week shut down because of the global semiconductor shortage. The plant employs more than 2,000 workers and produces the Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave SUVs.
"This is affecting both foreign and domestic auto workers so it's not just a GM or the Big Three issue it's across all platforms," said Jeffrey Kosloski who serves as shop chairman of UAW Local 602 which represents workers at the plant.
Employees at the plant are currently furloughed, they get some money from GM and from unemployment assistance. The extended pause means that production won't resume at least until August 23rd and there's a chance that production could be paused again for a sixth week.
"It's a week-by-week analysis basically, every week we have conference calls in the middle of the week to decide if we're going to be going back to work the following week or if it's going to be pushed off for another week," Kosloski said.
Semiconductor chips are important for electronics of all kinds; cellphones, computers, and even cars use them to function. For the moment, however, they're in critically short supply.
Cars need semiconductor chips to run some electronic functions like power windows and computers inside the vehicles. Cars can be driven without the chips but they can't be sold.
Two major factors led to this shortage and COVID-19 is behind both of them. The pandemic forced people into their homes and drove up demand for electronics to keep people entertained, and much like the local GM plants, the pandemic forced the closure of manufacturing plants that made the chips which led to a major shortage.
Huerta said that the prolonged shutdown has dealt a major blow to workers' morale.
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