Lansing State Journal from Lansing, Michigan on June 18, 1981 · Page 8
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Lansing State Journal from Lansing, Michigan · Page 8

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Location:
Lansing, Michigan
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 18, 1981
Page:
Page 8
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4-8 LANSING STATE JOURNAL Thurs.. June 18, 1981 As es,so '. Break the C2nU6SRAT03 lamgo LAUNDRY-TRIP HABIT YOU'VE SPENT ENOUGH MONEY AT THE COIN LAUNDRY NOW GET and the lay off s ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) Like an infant learning to take its first faltering steps alone, the city of Anderson is trying to wean itself from the nation's ailing No.-1 automaker ana inch toward sturdier economic ground. But General Motors Corp.'s workers ate reluctant to head out on their own,. "We're working against an image of Papa GM. But Papa GM is dead," says Gary Porter, a crisis counselor for the United Auto workers. "People just don't want to bury it' Porter spends much of his day trying to convince laktoff autoworkers that they may never -find the security with GM they once had; that they must quit checking the mailbox each day for a recall notice and find a steady job elsewhere. "BUT WE GIVE them 10 suggestions of things to do to make their situation better and on the way home they hear a rumor that GM may call everyone back. Then all our suggestions are gone out the window. They live on rumor to rumor," said Porter, a former GM employee. Anderson, like many American cities, depends on the auto industry for its economic well being. . And like many communities, Anderson suffered -during 1980 the worst year ever for the U.S. industry. In mis central Indiana city of 64,000, where the auto industry claims about 60 percent of the workforce, the unemployment rate soared to 23 percent less than a year ago, with about 6,000 autoworkers off the job. UNEMPLOYMENT STAYED high because many autoworkers have no desire to relocate or find another employer. A major reason is money: autoworkers in Anderson make about $20 an hour, but union officials say they're lucky to get $6 an hour elsewhere. "It's boring and repetitious work," Porter said. "But the workers have a strong loyalty to the i wages. They're having trouble accepting the fact f that they must accept a job that pays less much less." GM lost $763 million last year, and like the rest of the industry, its 1981 sales are running 5 percent below last year's. to Anderson, where GM's Guide and Delco-Remy divisions make bumpers and plastic auto parts, some recalls have been made. Anderson's unemployment rate has dropped to 11.5 percent. But in mid-May, the last of the unemployment benefits ran out for the 3,000 autoworkers still off the job. AND ALTHOUGH city and UAW officials say at least 2,000 Anderson autoworkers never will be recalled, GM officials say they believe they can recall all employees "once the economic climate improves. "I'd need a silver forecasting ball to tell you when that would be," GM spokesman Charles Hardy said. "We have no firm timetable. But some of our senior executives have indicated they expect production conditions to improve in the latter part of 1981 and into 1982." Porter said the main problem with getting autoworkers to seek other jobs is that "autoworkers have not accepted the fact that GM is not going to recall because they always have worked at GM in Anderson. Teen-agers graduated from high school on Thursday night and went to work for GM Monday morning. "GM could take a load off of a lot of people if they would just tell theni they won't be coming back. But they're a business. They can't be expected to do that." AND WHEN GM began to furlough workers, there were few other jobs for them in Anderson. v Small manufacturers were reluctant to hire autoworkers, fearing that as soon as they were , trained they would be called back to the assembly line. Anderson is trying to change that. A half-dozen groups have been formed in the last , several months to attract new industry. "Because we never had a, pool of unemployed before and GM kept growing and growing, it made it easy for people to rest," said William Ray; president of the Chamber of Commerce. "Now we're trying to get all the ducks in a row. It's a lot of little things." . In the last three years, three industries have left Anderson and no new ones have come in, said Allan Robinson, project coordinator of the city's Community Development Department. Now the city is forming a market extension project to seek businesses and defense projects; as economic indicators project so it can avoid another jump in its jobless rate; and a revolving loan plan for small businesses. "DIVERSITY IS very critical to Anderson's long-term economic viability" Ray said. "But we are as much GM's advocate as we are anyone elses. We. want to keep them covered up, keep them warm so they don't catch cold. We don't want to lose GM." . Anderson officials are urging autoworkers to helpGM. : x "The union can't have an adversary role with the company anymore," Robinson said. "We need to upstep production and do things so we can keep GM." rri D D a D 0 D ua L O Pizza Pizza goes all the way! ! Jj Cw ANY SIZE Fizza At U Tho Re!rr Prico... Cet Tho Identitd Pizzd L.S.J REE! Must Have Coupon "NO CHECKS ACCEPTED" Expires 7-1-81 372-6330 337-1631 485-4406 321-8065 D D D D 0 D D n L-J 1621 W. Mt. Hep. Lansing 1203 E. Grand Rivar. Lansi 2830 E. Grand Rivar. Lansing 502 Elmwooa. Lansing - 0 1, 1639 Haslett Rd. U J;Y, Haslett Village Sq. fl -!sL ph 339-1 129 U We want tobemurfawrtte store TAPPAI1 MICROWAVE mti ..itiitnmitlcA n H -( Ttmptrature dBi Ifnj II 8JWP 4799 Auto color preset controls Automatic fine tuning Electronic tuner Model 13B081R 13"ttttOTE CONTROL SOUD STATE P02TAELE COLO TV 33? MNGSPOINT STEREO , - i i . ) ; : . . 1 . . i . . . 1 .'.' I I ' ' V; Hr. : n ' ; ; I ! 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