Tag Archives: Flint

The end is near

I found this article about the some of the last GM factory employees in Flint, Michigan both sad and cool.  Sad in the fact that as I read it, I wonder if they are going to lose their jobs, pension, and everything.  It’s cool in that I admire their guts to ride out the good and the bad times with General Motors.

In the 1980s, more than 27,000 workers passed through the gates every day into Buick City. But only one of its many factories is still standing, a run-down engine plant known as Flint North.

Just 450 workers are left there, witnesses to the dismantling of Buick City and survivors, so far, of  G.M.’s financial collapse. And even as the company gets nearer to bankruptcy, they do not want to leave.

Since 2006, G.M. has persuaded 60,000 of its hourly employees — half of its union work force in the United States — to take cash buyouts and give up their jobs.

But the workers at Flint North have passed on every offer, no matter how rich.

They are part of the last generation of auto workers who were hired when G.M. dominated the United States market decades ago. And even with all the offers to leave, they stay, showing up for a job that is, in many cases, the only one they have ever known.

“I just get up in the morning, wash up, and drive here every day,” said O. C. Cooper, a 64-year-old machine operator at Flint North. “It’s just been a way of life.”

I don’t think they will win this gamble but I admire them for taking the risk.

Flint, Michigan

The other day I took a shot at Flint, Michigan in a blog post and the next day I got a friendly comment from someone who works for Flint Tourism pointing out that I may have over looked some of Flint’s characteristics.  Now I wasn’t really trying to be mean to Flint, I was just trying to point out that when factories shut down, cities really struggle as Flint did as General Motors pulled back production from the region.

So to be fair, here is a more balanced look at Flint.

City of Flint website and Quick Facts About Flint

It is home of the University of Michigan-Flint campus.

Flint Tourism

It’s home to the Flint Tropics

It’s also the home of Buick City, what is now the largest brownfield in the United States

I was suprised to learn that General Motors still has a presence in Flint

  • GM Truck Group, Flint Assembly
  • GM Powertrain Flint North
  • GM Powertrain Flint South
  • GM Flint Metal Center
  • Delphi Flint East
  • Delphi Technical Center Flint (closing 4Q 2008)
  • GM Flint Tool & Die
  • GM Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center
  • GM Service Parts Operations warehouse, Swartz Creek
  • GM Service Parts Operations processing center, Burton
  • GM Service Parts Operations World HQ offices, Grand Blanc Twp.
  • GM Service Parts Operations offices, Great Lakes Tech. Center, Flint

There you go.