GM workers react to layoffs at Engine Operations Plant

Come April, 104 employees at GMâ??s Engine Operations Plant will be without a job. These employees are third shift workers, making an engine for the Buick Encore. GM officials say those jobs are being shipped out to Korea.

The third shift workers make the 1.4 liter engines for the Buick Encore. GM officials say the work was temporary with no end date in sight but U.A.W. officials say they were blindsided.

"Itâ??s a shame, but the companyâ??s got to do what they got to do but I think they'll be back,â?? says Creon Mattison.

Itâ??s the third wave of GM layoffs in Genesee County in just seven weeks. For union workers, it's a hard pill to swallow.

"Well, Iâ??m disappointed in General Motors and their decision to close down two facilities,â?? says Dan Reyes, president of U.A.W. Local Union 599.

First, it was Grand Blanc's Weld Tool Plant in mid-January. Three weeks later, layoffs were announced at Flint's Delphi-East plant. Now, it's 104 workers at the engine operations plant.

This community seems to be in the crosshairs of General Motors and with every closing and layoff, it hurts the community,â?? says Reyes.

"Youâ??re talking a little over 100 jobs, that's tough for the workers of course and maybe the businesses across the street but in terms of the impact in Genesee County, that's pretty minimal,â?? says Chris Douglas, an economic professor at the University of Michiganâ??s campus in Flint.

â??You just got to roll with punches for the most part,â?? says Leonard Khirfan, owner of Khirfanâ??s Blue Collar Market. His market sits directly across the street from the plant. While, the layoffs may hit his register, he's got a sunny outlook.

â??I really am optimistic. I think GM is really making a lot of good moves and this is one of those things that affect some people and we will eventually come back,â?? adds Khirfan.

60 of the third-shift employees have seniority and will be placed at other GM plants, pending union negotiations. The other 40 or so temporary workers will have to find employment elsewhere.