General Motors Corp.'s Harrison Division Thursday announced it will furlough 1,000 employees for a week beginning Monday, bringing the total number of local auto workers on layoff next week to approximately 2,200.
A Harrison spokeswoman said that 850 of the furloughed workers are employed at its world headquarters complex in Lockport. The remaining 150 are at its Buffalo plant.
The layoffs are the most severe so far this fall as a result of sagging sales of autos attributed to rising gasoline prices and uncertainity over the Persian Gulf crisis.
The furloughed workers will suffer little financially. Under United Auto Worker contracts negotiated this fall, most laid-off workers are guaranteed 95 percent of their base pay. However, the layoffs are a source of concern over the long-term future of the U.S. auto industry.
Earlier this week, GM's Tonawanda Engine Plant announced it is furloughing 500 employees Monday until Jan. 2 because it is shutting down the line making six-cylinder, 4.3-liter engines.
At the nearby Saginaw Forge Plant, 143 workers will be idled Monday. On Dec. 17 the number of furloughed workers will rise to 227.
At the Saginaw Axle Plant in Buffalo, 285 workers remain on furlough into early January.
The line making linkage parts will shut down Dec. 17 for the rest of the year. The axle-making lines will go to one shift Monday.
Counting 173 workers put on indefinite layoff last week, the number of laid off workers at the Ford Motor Co.'s Woodlawn Stamping Plant next week will approach 400.