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WBEN NewsRadio 930>Audio & Video on Demand>>GM & Buffalo Manufacturing - Art Wheaton; Pt II

GM & Buffalo Manufacturing - Art Wheaton; Pt II

Jun 13, 2014|

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Our weakness here from the Cornell extension service at the New York State labor and industrial relations school. Are made in Western Europe Friday segment today is concentrating on the China Wanda and implant the big GM facility largest engine plant in the world. It employs almost 2000 people but -- art and also has a lot of robots -- money here with a plan manager Steve Fink says we walked around. What's really cool. Is that party to these tracts there's two robots mounted in the kinda do advance when there when there an operation. They know exactly. The standard that status of each block in each machine. So one robot can pick the block out of the machine while the other robot -- the next block into it and then they do their dance. To move the the blocks along the line. Now this plant has a lot of automation. Does that mean it has less jobs because of that. Absolutely that there's a lot fewer people working in the auto industry now. Primarily because that technology exchange that the they've gotten more productivity a lot more. On robots and equipment to help things. Move along faster and safer for workers so if it's a higher -- better manufacturing process is that a good thing. It's kind of a mixed blessing so in terms of the machines don't get tired. Yet the repairs memory yet to maintain them but the machines consistently put out the same exact thing. So they try to use them in dangerous or very difficult tasks. And at stake in supplement it with people that's fantastic. This plan today. Comparing it to its heyday in terms of worker and production. In its heyday it was ahead. Probably closer to eight to 101000. People that were working there there -- lots of different plants that were running around they were making. Engines for boats or marine engines they were making a lot of different types a lot of different styles. But I think in terms of the quality I think today they're right up there the best they've ever made so they're getting better they're doing things. The right way. In a safer way in a powerful way. So in that regard would you say it's kind of a microcosm. Of not only GM but American auto industry source smaller than it was in the heyday but more efficient and and overall better. I would say so but if for that I -- -- for the auto industry we're still making almost the same amount of vehicles here in May seem like we're selling last. But were still selling about fifteen million vehicles per year and were making. Not quite as many but we're making different products today -- we had in the past. Their heyday was this the seventy's when was this everything depends on which you wanna talk about for the number of people hated it was in the seventies for the number of product -- it was probably closer to. 2003. So it really depends on what you're talking about the Haiti for the number of vehicles we just have a lot more competition. And the vehicles don't LC GM Ford and Chrysler these days. A lot of the front end of this plan as we mentioned this robot certainly new stuff. An engine line that they put in and the past two years. Talk about the growth at this particular plan the kind of investments that GM has put in there. And if he could bring in the Ford plant down will -- not GM but I understand they too have added extra lines in recent years. I think a lot of it has to do with. They wanna tried to make large investments where they think they have a good working relationship where you're not gonna run into problems though they have invested hundreds of millions of dollars multiple times that the engine plant. To make sure they can build new engines I go back. For mine my time here buffalo working at the worker institute at Cornell they put in a lot of money for that LE fifty line for the Saturn for trying to do some of those different small cars they just put in a bunch of money to try to do the new Corvette engine. They keep investing. With the help of New York State and New Year's state taxpayers from time to time for incentives. But they hire people and and keep that the employment here in Western New York same goes for the stamping plant they've added a lot of money. Those stamping plants are not cheap and need to invest a lot in the infrastructure. And their higher so the first time since I've been around. They're hiring right off the street for some people during. You know during some of the up times and they are investing especially aluminum for the new F 150 coming out. At the stamping plant has made a big investment says they'll ask her again because Wesley Erica I think a lot of people need to hear. Do I join a union and go through an apprentice -- right just walking off the street. A lot of times what they've done is they've taken a lot of the folks that were laid off from Delphi plant in Rochester some of the Delphi folks from block port they've hired back as many of the former employees. On that were available or you know able to work in that plant they've hired a lot of those back on they also are very. Important for them to have people that they know when they trusted they've had friends and family the friends and family plan. You recommend people everybody has to get processed everybody has to go through and see if they can work and eighteen. Because it's not just your skills they also won an earlier attitude are you going to be a team player. And that's that's become very important so they've been adding some jobs at the engine -- they've been adding some jobs at the stamping plant. Because they they went down pretty low -- they felt the recession is much is all of us.

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