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Gerald Johnson, GM regional manager, makes announcement about expansion at the Bay City PowerTrain plant as employees and visitors listen.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

GM to Invest $10.5 Million, Add 17 Jobs for Engines at Bay City PowerTrain

"We're Headed in the Right Direction," Says Mayor Charles Brunner

February 18, 2010       1 Comments
By: Dave Rogers

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It's a tiny part and a relatively small investment by GM standards.

But the addition of 17 jobs at the Bay City General Motors PowerTrain plant is giving officials, workers and the community a big morale boost.

Bay City Plant Manager Kai Spande introduced Gerald Johnson, GM regional manufacturing manager serving 11 plants, who made the official announcement.

The investment of $10.5 million will provide infrastructure in the Bay City plant for making connecting rods for the new Ecotec engine, said Mr. Johnson.

"The year 2010 is looking up and things are better in the industry and the country," said Mr. Johnson. "This is a great day for U.S. manufacturing, General Motors and Bay City."

Several speakers recalled a year ago when the local plant was idled for two weeks and its future was in doubt.

Mayor Charles Brunner, left, meets with UAW members after the event.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

"One job at a time we will fill this plant up," said Gerald Kariem, assistant director of UAW Region 1-D. "That will happen because we absolutely, positively refuse to put a part out the door that isn't perfect. I am very confident that we will be here for a long time in the future."

"A year ago I was truly worried," said UAW Local 362 President Mike Lasco. "We are the northernmost and smallest PowerTrain plant but we have great union-management relations," he said, praising his members for producing quality work and maintaining safe conditions.

At the same time as the Bay City announcement, GM officials were telling crowds in Tonawanda, New York, that the company is investing $425 million in the plant there to make the engines and in Defiance, Ohio, where $59 million will set the stage for sand cast pouring of the engine blocks.

U.S. Rep. Dale F. Kildee, introduced by Mayor Charles Brunner as "the champion who saved this industry" through his work in Washington during crisis days last year, aimed a competitive dagger at GM's main competitor, Toyota.

"While Toyota got careless, GM increased its quality and efficiency and right now we're rolling well," exclaimed the Flint native and GM partisan whose father was a UAW member at the start, 1936. "Let's continue that trend and not fall into habits that are plaguing other automakers." Noting that he has known "every GM chairman since Harlow Curtice," (1953-1958) Rep. Kildee said "GM is reinventing the auto industry for the 21st century."

The road through Brownstown, Flint and Bay City he called "the Volt highway, and you're part of that," he stressed, waving to the hundreds of employees in attendance.

"We need to make sure Michigan remains hospitable to the industry," said State Sen. James A. Barcia, adding: "I can't imagine Bay City and Bay County without a GM plant."


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"The BUZZ" - Read Feedback From Readers!

j.kavanagh Says:       On February 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM
Dear Dave & colleagues,
What a nice bit of news for Bay City. I'm so glad, and truly hope that this is the beginning of a new trend for my hometown.
My good wishes, thoughts and prayers are with Bay City as always.
Agree? or Disagree?

Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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