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Posted on Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 5:26 a.m.

Personnel count at General Motors' Willow Run plant down to 700

By Nathan Bomey

General Motors has reduced the headcount at its Willow Run transmission plant to 700, fewer than three months after announcing that it would close the historic plant by December 2010.

Daphne Adams, communications manager for the plant, confirmed that the 5-million-square-foot facility has about 700 hourly and salaried employees remaining, down from 1,364 workers three months ago. 

Some 200 of those employees are transferring to GM's Toledo plant, the Toledo Blade reported.

GM, in conjunction with its June 1 bankruptcy filing, announced that it would close the Willow Run plant. The plant, which served as a B-24 bomber manufacturing facility during World War II, employed some 14,000 employees during the 1970s.

Adams said that most of the remaining 700 employees would continue to work at the plant until its closure.

In the immediate aftermath of GM's announcement, U.S. Rep. John Dingell and local officials coalesced in an effort to convince GM to keep the Willow Run plant. Dingell formed a Web site to support plant resuscitation effort, and Ypsilanti Township filed an objection in federal bankruptcy court to GM's plan. Ypsilanti Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo was not available for comment late Tuesday.

GM could still revive the plant, but it appears unlikely.

Bruce Belzowski, assistant research scientist for the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, said it might be hard to get in the way of GM's government-backed bankruptcy restructuring plan.

"It seems like it would be really difficult in this time because GM is downsizing its company so much to argue which plants are going to be closed or not," he said. "You really have to show some strategic reason why that plant should stay open for the company - and that's a pretty tough thing for them to do."  

The local plant closing was among 14 announced in June, when GM said it planned to shed a total of 20,000 jobs during its restructuring. Seven of the facilities are in Michigan.

Contact’s Nathan Bomey at, (734) 623-2587 or follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 10:30 a.m.

My understanding is that "they" shuttered Willow Run and shifted work to the Toledo drive train because Fed Ex and UPS are both chomping at the bit the re-purpose willow run as a delivery hub.


Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 9:13 a.m.

I believe the community would be better served by working on how to re-purpose the facility then attempting to prevent the closing. The sooner that new uses can be found for the plant, the sooner people can go back to work.


Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 9:12 a.m.

Hmm, another unthinking reaction from the reactionary right! How is it entitlement to try to keep one's job? And in response to the lashing of Dingell -- I have personally had assistance from his office, and they were quite responsive and helpful. His position is to represent his constituents, and that is what he does!


Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 8:22 a.m.

Just another example of the entitlement mentality of the democrat left.

Top Cat

Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 7:10 a.m.

John Dingell, as ineffective as ever. Just a place holder for a congressional seat until his wife Debbie is ready to take it.