Kokomo GM plant to lay off 160 workers as semiconductor business winds down

KOKOMO, Ind. – General Motors will lay off 160 workers next year.

According to a statement from Kevin Nadrowski, plant communications manager, 100 hourly and 60 salary employees will be let go as the plant ceases semiconductor production by the middle of 2017.

About 600 jobs will remain at the plant, Nadrowski said. Management notified workers about the plan on Nov. 9.

GM called the move a “business decision,” saying current production volumes don’t support a “profitable operation.” The company said the plant can’t compete at a global level due to its current technical capabilities and called it “cost prohibitive” to invest in new equipment.

In a recording of a meeting last week obtained by the Kokomo Perspective, GM Kokomo Plant Manager Steve Hartwig can be heard telling employees about the decision. Hartwig said semiconductor production is not a “core business” for GM and that other companies can produce them more efficiently.

Greg Wohlford, Vice President of the United Auto Workers Local 292, said this didn't come as complete surprise to the community, but is still devastating for the affected employees and their families.

“The biggest thing is you feel sorry for the people getting laid off," Wohlford said. "It affects their family. It affects them. It affects our community."

He said right now employees he's talked to are looking for answers.

"They have a lot of questions about what’s going to happen and where they are going to go from here," Wohlford said. "We’re on the phone with everybody trying to figure out what’s best for everybody and we’ll go from here.”

The company said all United Auto Workers/General Motors employees will be treated in accordance with “applicable provisions in the UAW Local and National Agreements.” The company will explore similar options for salaried employees in the coming months.