GM Shutdown Affects Janesville Suppliers, Jobs

Suppliers serving GM’s Janesville, Wis., factory, which will close Tuesday, will also shut down operations, raising the unemployment total from the factory shutdown to 2,000.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- The more than 1,200 people losing jobs when General Motors ends SUV production Tuesday won't be alone.

Suppliers that served the Janesville factory either have shut down or are in the process and will raise the total to about 2,000 newly unemployed workers in the area.

Tom Purnell, 48, was laid off last June by Lear Corp., which supplies interiors and seating systems. He was cut when GM ended its second shift at Janesville.

The single father of a 10-year-old boy said he hasn't been able to find another job.

"Places now aren't even taking applications anymore," he said.

Lear ended its regular production in Janesville last Thursday. A small staff stayed on through Tuesday. About 20 are expected to stay for another two or three months to break down operations.

Lear had notified the state it would be laying off 371 workers. LSI and its sister company, Flint Special Services, which have staged materials for the GM assembly line, told the state they would close their Janesville operations, laying off 187.

At the GM plant, the end of SUV production Tuesday means the elimination of more than 1,200 jobs. Only about 50 workers will stay on to build Isuzu trucks through May.

The GM workers are expected to get at least 48 weeks at nearly full pay.

Purnell said he and others laid off by suppliers don't get those kind of benefits.

They can expect to be eligible for the standard 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits, topping out at $355 a week.

Purnell, who lost his health insurance in October, said he may go back to school to take advantage of the money the government has made available to the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board for educational and support services.

"Maybe I can get into something like the mechanic field," he said.

Here are some of the layoff notices auto suppliers sent to the state after GM announced when it would end SUV production:

— Lear Corp., Janesville -- Closing, laying off 371 workers.

— LSI, Janesville -- Closing, laying off 159 workers.

— Flint Special Services (sister company to LSI), Janesville -- Closing, laying off 28 workers.

— Allied Automotive Group, Janesville, an Atlanta-based company that delivers vehicles from manufacturers to dealers -- Closing, laying off 117 workers.

— Woodbridge Group, Brodhead -- Laying off 70 workers.

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