‘Generous Motors’ now ‘Gov’t Motors’

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WARREN, Mich. | With “Government Motors” now the catchphrase for General Motors, co-workers Jason Polchowski and Russ King could only muse about what once was, as President Obama announced details of the giant corporation’s fall into bankruptcy.

“It used to be called ‘Generous Motors,’ ” Mr. King said Monday as the two had lunch at their usual eatery and watched Mr. Obama give his nationally televised address. “It’s not anymore.”

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Mr. Polchowski, a technical writer along with Mr. King here at the GM Technical Center, the home to many GM engineers, agreed.

“It’s the end of an era,” he said.

At the Pontiac Assembly Center during the 3 p.m. shift change, Don Bratchar, 55, who started working there when he was 20, exited with grim resolve after learning the plant was among those earmarked for closing.

“We’re depressed,” said Mr. Bratchar. “It was a very quiet day today.”

Plant worker David Hartzler 50, of Ortonville, Mich., has worked for GM since he was 19. He said he wasn’t angry but decried the demise of organized labor.

“Our union doesn’t have any strength anymore,” Mr. Hartzler said. “The union built the middle class, and I’m sad that it is going away.”

“I don’t think you can blame the Obama administration.” he said of the government takeover. “The Bush administration would have done the same thing.”

“I think our free-trade agreements have caused a lot of this,” he said. “They are one-sided.”

Neither of the technical writers were certain that after lunch, when they returned to the Tech Center across the street, they would still be employed.

“It’s just wait and see,” said Mr. King, 38, a father of three from Lexington, Mich., who is the sole breadwinner for his family. “I know I can’t live on unemployment.”

Said Mr. Polchowski, 35: “It’s nerve-racking. It’s very possible we’ll go back, and we’ll be laid off.”

The co-workers, both trained as mechanics who write service manuals for GM vehicles, said the waiting game has been hard over the past few months as friends were laid off and jobs were shifted. Working inside the massive GM facility has been a pressure cooker as both have tried to focus on their jobs and let the corporate titans figure out the balance sheets.

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About the Author
Andrea Billups

Andrea Billups

Andrea Billups is a Midwest-based national correspondent for The Washington Times. She is a native of West Virginia and received her undergraduate degree from Marshall University and her master’s degree from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Her news career spans more than 20 years. She has reported for several newspapers, has edited two magazines and before joining the Times, ...

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