The End of Poletown

The End of Poletown
December 10, 2018 paperlesslion

PBS NewsHour visited the Motor City for a special report on the closing of the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant and what that means to displaced autoworkers and the local economy. “The End of Poletown” aired on Detroit Public Television Channel 56.1, which makes it available on-demand here.

Details from PBS NewsHour:

Last week, General Motors announced that five of its North American plants will grind to a halt in March, costing 3,300 good-paying factory jobs in the U.S. GM says the move is necessary to stay alive in a shifting auto industry, but President Trump, who has vowed to bring factory jobs back to the same communities where plants will soon be idle, blasted the proposal and called on GM to keep the plants open. Caught in the crossfire are the thousands of workers whose jobs are on the line and whose prospects off the assembly line are uncertain.

NewsHour is reporting on the impact of the closure in two locations: the 1,300 workers who are now slated to lose their jobs at Detroit’s Poletown Plant and another 1,400 at a plant in Lordstown, Ohio. At both plants, NewsHour speaks to autoworkers who rely on the stability of their union jobs and have few, if any, comparable options. In Lordstown, where two-thirds of the plant’s prior workforce had already been laid off since the beginning of 2017, the report examines the toll of unemployment from people who lost their jobs and the ripple effect of the region’s major economic engine shutting down.

NewsHour also talks to union leaders who are pressuring GM to bring new products to keep their plants up and running and to local officials who describe how supply chains and local businesses stand to lose from the closings. NewsHour also explores the broader trend of dwindling factory jobs with auto industry experts.

Shot over three days in Ohio and Michigan, this is the kind of in-depth, contextual reporting that we have come to expect from PBS NewsHour.

Watch the report on-demand here.

As most Detroiters know, the Poletown plant – on the border of Detroit and Hamtramck – was born out of controversy. DPTV’s One Detroit bureau spoke to Detroit lawyer and activist George Corsetti, who 37 years ago produced a documentary on the protests surrounding the city seizing land through eminent domain to make way for the factory, in the process displacing a largely Polish neighborhood of an estimated 4,000 residents.

Please view this special report on the One Detroit website.