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Powertrain Warranty Expired

May 15th, 2007 · No Comments · News

Anytime a major plant closure is announced, you can be sure there will be some interesting responses. I didn’t really think it was news. Sure, it’s terrible for people to deal with such an event, but nobody ever believed it would be there forever.

Changes in manufacturing technology made it necessary to idle the 48-year-old factory in Massena, which would be too costly to modernize, said Sharon Basel, GM’s Powertrain communications manager.

“We are really moving in a new direction from a technology standpoint in the casting end of our business,” Basel said. “Newer, more efficient engines require higher strength material for cylinder head castings and block castings, and the lost-foam technology done here at Massena doesn’t meet those requirements.”

Well, that’s the technical answer. In other words, the plant is old, not worth upgrading, and doesn’t make any money.

Kentsboss has some interesting takes on the event:

Now, the GM employees who are facing the closure of their plant are to be given dire choices: take our severance packages and find new jobs, or relocate to another GM plant far removed from this region. The potential uprooting of families is nearly as drastic as the loss of the jobs,…

Don’t know why those are dire choices. They could also not get a severance package or not have another job to go to. Heck, some of those places might even be better than Massena.

One thing that’s not good is empty stores, but the recent influx of Canadians might help.

Massena has seen some big box stores arrive in the form of Home Depot and the new Wal-Mart, but those are service industries that thrive on the spending of well-employed people. By the end of next year, Massena will be woefully short of that category.

He goes on:

One thing is clear – the community and the state can’t spend any time wringing their hands over the GM decision, or trying to change the company’s mind. This die was cast way back in 2005, to a great degree, and any effort at getting the decision revoked is merely pissing into a stiff breeze. Massena, and St. Lawrence County, must square their shoulders and immediately begin working together to find a way to make up for GM’s loss. And if one “economic developer”, as they apparently like to be called, utters the word “tourism,” I’m going to go paint a target on his or her back and declare open season. This is one economic crevasse that tourism isn’t going to even marginally begin to fill.

Eh, I’d rather do any tourist job than working in a factory, but that’s just me. I’d also argue that the diversified economy associated with a robust tourism economy is more resilient to sudden catastrophe.

He closes with a call for action:

So the Massena town and village governments and the county Legislature should meet – today, not next week or next month – to come up with a plan of attack. They should also force GM to become a partner in this search, because any company that is going to shut out the lights and get on the bus out of town has a moral obligation to help out – cash would be a good start, but helping to market both their facility and the region will be just as important.

Dude, a moral obligation? If anything, they’d do it for PR purposes.

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