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GM parts shortage: UAW workers want a day off, customers wait on parts

Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- More than half of the hourly workers at General Motors Ypsilanti Processing Center have been written up for skipping work since late October.

But they are exhausted, exasperated and speaking up.

The 125 regular hourly workers have had just a handful of days off over the last few months -- most of which were holidays. That's because GM is pushing to fix a massive, nationwide parts shortage that has left many customers vexed.

The facility has been in "emergency status." That means mandatory seven-day workweeks until this past Sunday, the first Sunday to be voluntary. All of GM's key parts plants in southeastern Michigan have been on emergency status since Oct. 26, the day the UAW's nationwide strike against GM ended.

"I have hard feelings," toward GM demanding so much overtime, said Bill Bagwell, shop chairman at the processing center in Ypsilanti.

Bagwell watched as managers, security guards and vendors got time off. Yet he and other UAW members worked a mandatory 68 hours a week. He said management even denied him time off to attend church services.


"You want me to trust a company that wouldn't give me a Sunday off to go to church for eight weeks?" said Bagwell. "The company that has fed me every morsel of food I've ever eaten -- I'm second generation -- has shown they don't care about me."

Other workers at Ypsilanti echoed the sentiment, telling the Free Press that managers treat them more like "machines as opposed to humans."

GM spokesman Jim Cain said GM is grateful for the long hours from the workers. He confirmed the Ypsilanti processing center is now on mandatory six-day weeks, running two, 10-hour shifts each day. Sunday shifts are now voluntary. As soon as GM's parts supply is restored, he said, GM will end the emergency status.

Customers wait and wait


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