DETROIT -- UAW Local 909 leaders and workers told reporters Tuesday that General Motors' Warren, Mich., transmission plant will close in three days, leaving about 100 workers without jobs.
GM said all displaced workers at the plant will have opportunities to transfer to other GM operations. The company's plant closings could be a major issue in the ongoing GM-UAW contract talks, with the current pact due to expire Sept. 14.
With tears in her eyes, UAW Local 909 President Ghana Goodwin-Dye shared the stage at the union hall across the street from the plant with two fellow workers to share their feelings about GM's decision to close the 2.7 million-square-foot operation.
"This is a family that General Motors is separating," Goodwin-Dye said. "We have members that have been there for over 50 years that are being forced to retire. They are not wanting to retire but they are forcing them to retire because they have to move to another facility."
She added: "This is wrong. I need the American public to know that if this can happen to us, this can truly happen to them as well."
GM in November announced it would cease production at five North American plants, including the Warren transmission operation just north of Detroit, as part of a companywide restructuring.
"For GM to think that, 'Oh, we can find jobs for almost everyone,' is a slap in the face because we've worked so hard at Warren powertrain," Goodwin-Dye said.
GM said in a statement Tuesday that it appreciates employees' hard work at the plant and understands that it is an emotional time for the plant's team members. The company said 60 of the 262 Warren employees have been placed and another 25 elected to retire.
"Our focus remains on the employees and the impacted communities. We have job opportunities for every hourly employee at the impacted plants. These are highly-skilled employees, and we want them to stay with the company.
"We have now placed more than 1,700 employees (out of 2,800) from our unallocated plants to other GM locations. Our goal is to build a strong future for our employees and our business."
But Danielle Murry, a 19-year GM employee, said the automaker has not yet offered her an opportunity to transfer.
"I have no idea where I'm going to end up," Murry said. GM "will give me a FedEx letter in the mail and give me a three-week notice to move across the country with my family."
The union's press conference was the same day Democratic presidential candidates are scheduled to debate in Detroit. The plant closings are expected to be a topic during the event.