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Wentzville van plant hit with shutdowns

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – General Motors has announced plans to shutter the Wentzville van plant for three additional weeks next year as the company struggles with dropping demand for its products.

The plant's 2100 employees were already scheduled to have the first week of January off. They'll now have the first two weeks off, as well as two additional weeks in February.

The announcement comes a day after the failure of the legislative bailout. United Auto Workers spokesman Tom Brune says workers are nervous.

"There's a lot of tension in the plant, you know, our leadership on both sides is trying to convey messages as accurately as we can, and keep people focused on building vans," he said.

Union members will receive unemployment and other benefits, which Brune says totals about 70 percent of a worker's salary. The Wentzville mayor says the shutdowns will cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tax revenue.