LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - General Motors' plant in Lordstown will go down to a single shift, upsetting many workers and impacting the local economy.
It was announced during a plant-wide employee meeting on Friday afternoon.
June 15 is the last day for two shifts, while the one-shift schedule will take effect on June 18.
We've learned that the change calls for the possibility of laying off up to 1,500 workers. GM is offering a $60,000 payout to some employees, however, so if workers take the buyout, that number could be lower.
Between 1,000 and 1,500 workers will be left on the single shift. At its peak in 1985, GM employed 15,000 people at the Lordstown plant when it was making small cars and vans.
That's a decrease of 90 percent in 33 years.
"You don't need an economist to tell you that it's bad news, as far as the economy of the Mahoning Valley," said YSU professor A.J. Summell.
An employee inside the plant said people were crying as the announcement was made.
"When they announced the first shift only, there were some outbursts, some screaming. It wasn't received well, but I think we all kind of knew it was coming," said Carrie Raupach, a worker.
Raupach has 40 years at Lordstown. She's taking the buyout and retiring, saying the buyout information will come next week.
There is a meeting on April 16 to roll out the details of a buyout. It's not yet known which workers will be offered a buyout, but they'll have 60 days to decide whether to take it.
GM is blaming declining Cruze sales.
"Well, they just said that cars aren't selling," Raupach said. "I really kind of think that maybe we may end up getting like, a small SUV."
The latest figures released by GM earlier this month show Cruze sales were down 13 percent compared to the year before.
"They're not selling any cars. Everybody's buying trucks. It's the way the economy's going with it, gas is cheap," said another worker, Michael McNamara.
Economists say a lot of that has to do with gas prices. When they're high, the Cruze does really well but when they're low, the sales just aren't there.
However, a GM spokesman said Friday that the car market remains important to GM and Chevrolet, since it represents 36 percent of industry retail sales.
"We want to make sure that we're doing everything that we can to keep the Cruze there and when they're looking to replace the Cruze, that Lordstown is there," Sen. Sean O'Brien said.