SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Mayor Robert E. Scott said he was expecting General Motor Corp.'s announcement Thursday that it planned to close its Sioux City carburetor plant.
The AC Rochester Division plant, employing 200, is one of 23 plants or operations to close by mid-1996 -- the last nine of which were named Thursday.
'We had anticipated this was going to happen,' Scott said. 'We had been working with the company for about a year to get them to utilize more of the plant. They were using only 40 to 60 percent. Most of the production has been going overseas.'
The Sioux City plant produces throttle body injection systems. Work at the facility will be consolidated at GM's AC Rochester facility in Rochester, N.Y., by the first half of 1993. Sioux City employes will have the option to transfer to Rochester, N.Y.
Scott said the plant is expected to shut down in April but will have only a marginal impact on the economy in the community of more than 80, 500.
'We're running 3.5 percent unemployment,' Scott said. 'I empathize with those employees...but we will have to pick up and continue to go. We have a growing job market....We would not like to see them (the laid off workers) leave the community.'
Scott said that, though GM is among the city's top employers, it is not one of the 10 largest. IBP in South Sioux City is the community's largest employer with 1,800 workers. The city also is home to the largest popcorn manufacturer, Jolly Time, as well as Terra International, Gateway 2000 computers, Sioux Bee Honey and John Morrell.
GM bought the plant from Zenith in 1980 and completely renovated it.
'When Zenith closed the plant, we were devastated,' Scott said. 'We were probably running about 7 percent unemployment at that time.'
Scott said job retraining funds will be available for displaced workers.
'We've got four to five months to go to work on that and we will,' he said.
GM Thursday named the final nine of 23 plants or operations it plans to close by 1996, putting more than 74,000 people out of work. The other eight are in Mihcigan, Delaware, New York, Ohio, New Jersey and Ontario, Canada.
GM has lost more than $12 billion on its North American automotive operations since 1991.