Parts Suppliers In Tennessee Laying Off 900 Workers As GM Halts Spring Hill Production

Eight auto-parts suppliers will be forced to layoff  workers when production at the Spring Hill GM plant is halted.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Plans to halt production at the General Motors Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., for 18 months is spurring layoffs among the state's auto-parts suppliers.

The company will be renovating the plant after the production lines for two cars, the Saturn Vue and the Ion, are moved to other plants. The automaker will idle 2,400 employees during the production halt, expected to start on March 30.

Nearly 900 employees from eight auto-parts suppliers will also be laid off as a result, according to notices filed with the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Suppliers affected include Ryder Integrated Logistics, Lewisburg Seating Systems and Penske Logistics.

Many of those workers could be called back when production resumes in 2008, said Frank Tamberrino, president of the economic development group Maury Alliance.

''We're looking at obviously a significant number of people in the short run that will be impacted by the layoffs,'' he said. ''But in the long run, there should be at least an equal number of new jobs created to offset the loss.''

The company is investing approximately $225 million to retool the paint shop for future vehicle production, which hasn't been announced yet.

''Anytime you have a ceasing of operations and retooling of this magnitude, there's going to be an impact to the supplier community,'' said Michael Herron, chairman of United Auto Workers Local 1853 in Spring Hill.

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