General Motors – Massena, New York

Daily Courier-Observer May 2, 2009

October 4, 1957  Ground is broken on the Chevrolet Motor Division's Massena Aluminum Foundry, as part of production planning for a new car called the Chevrolet Corvair.

January 11, 1959  The first casting, an aluminum engine piston, is made on a pilot line at the Massena foundry;  production piston and transmission castings follow by May.

1961  Facility expands castings for other car lines including clutch housings for the Chevrolet Corvette.

1964  Facility grows to 300,000 square feet and adds transmission case capacity.

1970  A 169,000 square-foot addition is built in anticipation of the 1971 launch of the Chevrolet Vega and production of the four-cylinder engine block.

1978  Facility becomes part of GM Central Foundry Division;  production begins on a new family of three-speed transmission cases and a 74,000 square foot addition is built to manufacture aluminum intake manifolds.

1981  Following major plant modernization, GM announces Massena will be the lead site for development of the lost foam process casting technology.  In conjunction with the increased business, Massena added 255,000 square feet of floor space from 1979-1981.

1983-2008  Massena's High Volume Cast Line was the world's first application of the then-new lost foam casting process in a high-volume, production application.  For 25 years, 15 million castings were made, representing more than 350 million pounds of poured aluminum.

September 1984  GM site is designated a Superfund Toxic Waste Site and added to the EPA's National Priorities list, which includes some of the worst industrial waste sites in the country.

August 1986  GM announces it intends to close most of its operations at Central Foundry, eliminating 1,200 of 1,300 jobs.

1987-1988  Massena facility ceases aluminum transmission case die casting operations and aluminum engine piston mold casting operations, which are shifted to other facilities, and is left with only the lost foam process for the manufacture of aluminum castings.

1990  Massena plant is the first in the company's history to be awarded the "Mark of Excellence" by GM corporate officials.  In the same year, the first Saturn vehicle launches with aluminum engine components originally developed at Massena.

December 1990  EPA releases first Record of Decision, outlining federally-mandated site cleanup plans.

1991  Central Foundry Division becomes part of GM Powertrain.

1992  Massena becomes the first GM plant to produce a lost foam iron part with the casting of Direct Coast Housing for the Cadillac Northstar transmission.

1996  GM announces two new aluminum products for Massena-a four-cylinder aluminum engine block and an aluminum cylinder head for global applications.  The added production brings in another 160 jobs.

2001  Massena is selected to produce the aluminum cylinder head for the new inline four-cylinder Vortec 2800 engine.

May 2007  GM announces facility will cease operations by December 2008.  The company cites rising gas prices, which have put a damper on vehicle sales and caused the corporation's production capacity to outpace demand.  The plant's workforce drops from over 500 in the early 2000's to approximately 250 by 2008.

August 2008  After high gas prices led to a rising demand for four-cylinder engines, GM decides to temporarily extend the life of the plant beyond the Dec. 2008 planned closure.  Officials say the plant will remain open until mid-2009.

January 2009  GM announces operations will officially close by May 1, 2009.  Workforce shrunk to under 50 employees, after over 100 are laid off following a temporary holiday shutdown.

April 23, 2009  The last part rolls off the line at GM Massena.

May 1, 2009  Only 28 workers remain at the plant and are scheduled to continue shutdown work through May and June.