General Motors Pledges $328 Million Investment, Retains Workers

By Reina Ilagan

Dec 16, 2016 07:11 AM EST

After feeling uncertain about their future, workers felt relieved when General Motors announced that it plans to invest $328 million for the plants in the Town of Tonawanda and Lockport.

The company will allocate $296 million in the Tonawanda site, and $32 million for the Lockport plant. The investment reassured the workers that the plants will continue their operations despite the recession. Hundreds of jobs will be retained on both plants, and new jobs will be created in the Tonawanda site.

"Basically, this takes that off the table, for at least the foreseeable future. We know what we're building today and we know what the next generation of engines are. That takes a lot of worry and fear off of people's minds, and then they can just go to work," said Steve Finch the Tonawanda plant manager, talking about the doubts of the workers of whether the plants will survive or shut down operations.

"Remember, there are other plants that are losing shifts and other work that is going out of the country. So we have many things to be grateful for this holiday season," said Chuck Herr, shop chairman of United Auto Workers Local 774.

Although General Motors did not detail about the new engines that the Tonawanda plant will make, Mr. Finch hinted that it would represent the next step for the "Generation V" engine line. He also said that the preparations for the new investment are underway.

"They're going into future vehicle products that we're not prepared to announce yet, for competitive reasons," stated Kathleen Dilworth, the company's manufacturing editor.

Aside from the projects on its two plants, the company will also commit about $6 million into new components production at is Rochester site. Projects from the three sites are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

"Let's be honest, GM is going to spend that much money, they could pick up this plant, they could go anywhere," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo who joined the General Motors officials at the Tonawanda site during the hailing of the investment.

"And they're betting on Buffalo, and they're betting on Western New York, and they're making that investment here, because they believe in Buffalo's future. They believe in the partnership they have with the state of New York," the governor added.

Having survived the turmoil in the auto industry, the Tonawanda and Lockport plants have proven their staying power in the face of adversity.

"They're great plants and we've got a good partnership, and a willingness to work together to be competitive. In this global environment, that's critical," she commented.

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