Janesville Assembly Plant is an automobile factory owned by General Motors located in Janesville, Wisconsin. Opened in 1919, it was the oldest operating GM plant when it was largely idled in December 2008, and ceased all remaining production in April 2009.
The factory was originally built to produce Samson tractors. These failed to find buyers, so GM switched it to producing Chevrolet automobiles in 1923. It has produced automobiles and pickup trucks over the years, but most recently built full-size SUVs.
Production at the factory was halted during the Great Depression for a short time and there was a famous sit-down strike in 1937. The Janesville Assembly also produced artillery during World War II.
The Janesville Assembly was until recently one of three plants producing the GMT900 trucks, such as the Chevrolet Suburban, and began building the next-generation short-wheelbase GMT900 trucks in January 2006. It began producing long wheelbase GMT900 trucks in March of that year and an overtime shift was added to meet demand.
The plant covers 4,800,000 ft³ (446,000 m³). It employed around 7,000 workers at its peak in 1970, but was down to about 1,200 when it was largely idled in December 2008, with only 57 employees left when it completely ceased production in April 2009.
The Janesville GM Assembly plant achieved a milestone of producing more than 500,000 Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon, Yukon XL, Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali full-size sport utility vehicles, with E85 FlexFuel capable engines. The Janesville employees were recognized in a ceremony at the plant which included Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (D).
“We have made a significant investment in E85 Ethanol by using the technology on one of our most popular engines,” said Gary Malkus, plant manager, GM Janesville Assembly. “With the launch of the all-new Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon, Yukon XL, Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali, we‘re anticipating that the E85-capable 5.3L FlexFuel engine will make up as much as 70 percent of our production volume.” 
Discussion of greenhouse gas fuel emissions regulations sparks impact dialogue and the questionable future of the Janesville GM plant. "Gary Malkus, who manages the GM plant in Janesville and its 2,500 hourly and 200 salaried workers, serves on the task force. Obviously, he doesn’t think the California standards make for the best public policy."
United Auto Workers Local 95 strike at the facility."
On February 13, 2008, Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama stated, "This can be America’s future. I know that General Motors received some bad news yesterday, and I know how hard your Governor has fought to keep jobs in this plant. But I also know how much progress you’ve made – how many hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles you’re churning out. And I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years. The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future, it’s where it will thrive. I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America; right here in Wisconsin; and that’s the future I’ll fight for as your President."
Fuel prices, the related slow sales of SUVs, and the economy affected the Janesville plant. In April 2008, GM announced that the plant would cut back full-time production to a single shift. Combined with an ongoing employee buy-out program, layoffs totaled around 750 jobs in July 2008.
During GM's 2008 annual shareholder meeting on June 3, 2008, CEO Rick Wagoner announced that the Janesville assembly plant would close by 2010, along with three other GM factories, and could close sooner if the market dictated. The cutbacks announced, along with other changes, were expected to save the North American division $1 billion per year starting in 2010.
GM extended its annual summer shutdown an additional two weeks and planned another ten weeks of shutdown for the remainder of 2008 because of excess inventories of SUVs made at the plant.
In June 2008, a study by Steven Deller, a University of Wisconsin-Extension professor, indicated that the plant's closure could result in a ripple effect for the county. Based on a number of estimates and 2007 employment data, his worst case scenario was the loss of 9,000 jobs and nearly half a billion dollars of labor income in Rock County.
|"Last day at GM" Janesville Gazette Photos of December 23,2008|
In October 2008, GM announced Janesville Assembly would be largely idled December 23, 2008 when production of SUVs would end. On December 23, workers gathered at a ceremony to take photos with a banner reading "Last Vehicle off the Janesville Assembly Line". The last vehicle was sold in a raffle benefiting the United Way.
57 production employees continued assembly work at the Janesville Assembly until April 2009, completing the GM/Isuzu light truck partnership and then an additional 40 to 50 "skilled trade employees" worked to decommission the plant.
Rumors of the plant reopening due to GM placing the plant in 'standby' status are untrue. "A plant is never closed until it is officially closed during bargaining," said Kristin Dziczek, director of the Labor and Industry Group at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. 
- "Can GM's oldest plant survive latest cutbacks?". Detroit News. Retrieved June 14, 2005.[dead link]
- "ISUZU: GM-Isuzu Relations". Isuzu. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- General Motors. Janesville Assembly fact sheet. Accessed June 27, 2008.
- Janesville Gazette, April 2009
- "State offered $195 million in failed bid for GM plant". Wisconsin State Journal. July 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- GM Inside News. . March 22, 2006.
- The Janesville Gazette. . November 3, 2007.
- CNNMoney.com. . September 25, 2007.
- Barry Adams (April 29, 2008). "Janesville GM plant cutting 750 jobs". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- "GM closing Janesville assembly plant". June 3, 2008.
- General Motors Press Conference - Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Rick Wagoner, General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Wilmington, Delaware. June 3, 2008.
- Janesville Gazette. Janesville GM plant targeted for downtime. June 24, 2008.
- Associated Press. Study: Janesville GM closing could result job loss of 9,000 June 21, 2008.
- The Capital Times. GM to close Janesville plant on December 23 2008. October 13, 2008.
- Jim Leute, "GM employees get official word," Janesville Gazette, October 13, 2008.
- The Janesville Gazette. GM Thursday is last day of production as Isuzu line comes to end. April 21, 2009.
- UAW Local 2209 website. Janesville GM plant not likely to reopen, many say. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
- GM has long, rich history in Janesville
- Through the years: Chronicling the history of GM in Janesville
- General Motors history in black and white
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