SPRING HILL, Tenn. – The Spring Hill General Motors plant made its last Chevrolet vehicle Wednesday morning as the plant was idled.
Workers finished the last Chevy Traverse around 10 a.m. and then the plant was placed on standby.
Now, the workers themselves face a tough decision.
Roughly 1,700 workers will lose their jobs and that doesn't include thousands of suppliers and others indirectly affected by the layoffs.
"We need the economy to improve," Local United Auto Workers Chairman Michael Herron told News 2. "That is going to be a critical driver; that's the critical thing to determine when this plant starts back up."
UAW worker Paula Barber worked on the line that made the last Traverse.
Her auto supplier job in the plant supports two kids and an unemployed husband, but Barber will be laid off Jan. 1.
"Hopefully I will find something else to do," Barber said. "Hopefully something else comes in the plant."
About 800 of the plant's workers must decide if they want to accept potential transfers to other GM plants, or stick around Spring Hill waiting to see if it might be asked to make another GM vehicle in the future.
Jack Cobb has worked at the plant since it opened, on the line and in corporate communications, and he must decide whether to wait it out and hope that the economy gets better.
Cobb said, "My daughter is 17 years old. She's been here all of her life. She doesn't want to leave Tennessee. We don't want to leave Tennessee."
Cobb put in for a transfer to Michigan and will get word about the job in January. He says he and his wife still haven't decided what they'll do.
"Every day it's something that's on our mind…We have some major life changing decisions that we are looking at," he said.
He's hopeful that the plant will not have made its last Traverse and that work will come to Spring Hill again.
"It will be very tough. Right now, my heart's here and I plan on staying here," Cobb said.
Spring Hill mayor Mike Dinwiddie spoke Wednesday about what the idling of the plant will mean to the economic future of the city and Maury County.
"It's also going to be a hardship for the city and I think to the people that have no affiliation to that plant whatsoever," Dinwiddie said. "So one of the best ways I could support them during this time of hardship is just to roll up my sleeves and jump on the line with them so that when this plant goes down we all go down together."
Over the past few weeks, the mayor joined GM workers in making the Traverse and was there when the final vehicle rolled off the line.
Though the GM plant has stopped making vehicles, it is not completely shutting down.
Nearly 800 workers will remain, making products like engines and parts for other GM products.
Thursday, August 28 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-28 19:28:07 GMT
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