GM Closing N.Y. Powertrain Plant

Changes in casting technology result in closing of 48-year-old plant and elimination of 500 workers in northern New York by the end of 2008.

MASSENA, N.Y. (AP) - General Motors Corp. announced Monday that it will phase out its aging Powertrain plant in northern New York by the end of 2008, eliminating almost 500 jobs.
Changes in manufacturing technology made it necessary to idle the 48-year-old factory in Massena, which would be too costly to modernize, said Sharon Basel, GM's Powertrain communications manager.
''We are really moving in a new direction from a technology standpoint in the casting end of our business,'' Basel said. ''Newer, more efficient engines require higher strength material for cylinder head castings and block castings, and the lost-foam technology done here at Massena doesn't meet those requirements.''
The Detroit-based company is switching to precision sand and semi-permanent mold casting technologies, which yield a greater integrity in the casting and produce components better able to withstand stress, Basel said.
The closing affects 394 hourly workers and 94 salaried employees. Employees were notified Monday. Employees will be offered severance packages that will be determined mostly on an individual basis, she said.
Two product lines made at the plant will be phased out in the near future and the third by the end of 2008, although that period could change depending on market conditions, she said. The work will be moved to GM's other U.S. casting plants in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, she said.
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