Automaker says upgrades will retain about 4,000 jobs
Wentzville, MO — General Motors announced plans Dec. 13 to invest $1.5 billion to bring its next generation of midsize pickup trucks to market here.
GM’s Wentzville truck plant will receive $1 billion of this investment to upgrade the facility in preparation for the new products is expected to retain 4,000 manufacturing jobs at the Wentzville site.
“Today’s announcement was that they would be investing over $1.5 billion in the state of Missouri, retaining 4,000 good paying jobs, with upgrades to the facilities, including new conveyors,” Glenn Kage, president of United Auto Workers Local 2250, which represents workers at the plant.
The Wentzville plant’s paint shop, body shop and general assembly areas will receive upgrades, including new machines, conveyors, controls and tooling.
Kage said the changes will “make some things better for our members, provide for the workforce of the city of Wentzville and provide continued economic development of the city of Wentzville.”
ANNOUNCEMENT COMES SEVEN WEEKS AFTER STRIKE
The announcement comes seven weeks after GM workers voted to end a 40-day nationwide strike.
The strike ended on Oct. 25, when UAW members voted to ratify a new contract, which included a retention of 2,000 hourly jobs at the Wentzville plant for at least four years. The facility employs roughly 4,000 hourly workers, the same number GM says will be retained with the new investment.
Under the terms of the contract, GM agreed to invest $7.7 billion in at least five of its facilities, including $1.5 billion toward producing the “next generation” of GM’s midsize pickup trucks in Wentzville.
STATE STRINGS ON ASSISTANCE
State lawmakers secured $50 million in tax breaks over 10 years for GM during the spring legislative session to encourage the automaker to invest in the Wentzville plant.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development says GM must retain 90 percent of current full-time equivalent jobs to get all the subsidies included in the state’s Missouri Works Automotive Program, which was approved by the General Assembly last spring.
“Falling below 80 percent retention or discontinuing a product line at the plant without replacing it with another product line will put the company in default of the agreement,” which could result in the forfeiture of tax credits or the suspension of future tax credits, the state said. Other incentives programs used in the deal, including $3.1 million from Missouri One Start, will provide training on equipment and tooling, the state said.
“Through this investment, General Motors is making a firm commitment to the State of Missouri, the City of Wentzville and the GM Wentzville team,” GM President Mark Reuss said in a statement. “This is part of our comprehensive strategy to invest in growth areas and strengthen our U.S. manufacturing base. GM sells more pickups than any other automaker and we have aggressive plans to build on our strengths.”