US: High truck demand makes car production skip summer break image

With pickups, large SUVs and crossovers getting more and more interest from customers, carmakers this summer will work at full speed to meet demands, which means that factories will not shutdown for any summer breaks.

Brian Hartman, president of UAW Local 2209 that represents 4,000 workers at the GM Truck plant in Indiana, said that “We are working straight through the month of July and currently we have five Saturdays scheduled through the summer. We have the capacity to produce 505 trucks per day, and we’re right at the brink of that most days.”

For the past years, General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler have tried and managed to convince the UAW have its members take a break for the first two weeks of July. This way, the carmakers could save money on utilities, reduce inventories and employ a small team of skilled trades workers that would install new tooling for the following model year. But this all happened when GM and Ford had over four assembly plants in the U.S. that would produce large pickup trucks, while now they only have half of that.

Tim Shoup, a worker at the paint shop at GM’s truck plant in Flint said that while he will have the first week of July off, manufacturing starts again with the third shift set for the 10th of July. He explained that “They’ve also added a Saturday in July, but they’ve said we may be working 42 Saturdays over the next year.”

Johnny Pruitte, head of UAW Local 276 from Texas, said that “We can’t build them fast enough.” in reference to the Cadillac Escalade models, the Chevrolet Tahoes, the Suburbans and the GMC Yukons for which 4,400 workers are putting in work.

This could be considered good news in the short term as car management teams and the UAW are both pleased with the situation and also in the long terms as the carmakers will see a boost in profit from these summer truck sales.