‘It’s job security and it’s a future’: General Motors investing in upgrades at Parma plant

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PARMA, Ohio (WJW) – It sounds a little bit like birds. That is, if you have a species that’s bright yellow, weighs several tons and wields a welding torch.

These robotic arms are making precision welds on a part of a car that you’ll probably never see.

General Motors‘ Parma Metal Fabrication plant has been around for almost 75 years, and an announcement on Thursday will keep it going for, hopefully, more years to come.

“We were rewarded with excellent news of an investment that helps to upgrade our facility, so we have a press upgrades, an aluminum capable system that will be put into the plant and investment in our mill assembly area,” GM Parma Plant Director Kareem Maine said.

GM is upgrading the plant to the tune of $46 million.

The plant makes key parts for just about every GM car. This includes engine mounts, inner frame pieces that help protect the cabin from an impact, roof supports and a lot of other key bits that keep a car safe.

It will mean new presses and other new equipment upgrades that the company and workers say will keep the Parma plant on the cutting edge and competitive.

It’s an investment that will help protect local jobs.

“It’s huge, it’s huge. We’re able to keep supporting our families. It’s job security and it’s a future,” Auto Workers Local 1005 President Michael Patterson said.

When the Parma plant was first opened in the late 1940s, it was one of the largest plants of its kind and employed close to 5,000 workers.

About 1,000 people work there now and there’s a lot of machines, but those 1,000 union workers say it’s their hard work that keeps this plant ready to move into the future.

“The UAW membership here, coming to work every day, doing an excellent job, they’re the ones who set us up to receive investment from the corporation,” Patterson said.

Over the past three years, GM has closed a half a dozen auto plants, including the Lordstown facility, as consumer tastes have shifted to trucks and SUV’s.

The new upgrades will allow the Parma plant to continue to supply parts for those vehicles.

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