Janesville GM plant closure attracts worldwide attention - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Janesville GM plant closure attracts worldwide attention


JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- The closing of GM's Janesville Assembly has been getting worldwide attention.

Tuesday, a group of journalists from Japan toured the UAW Local 95 union hall. Japan was one of many countries interested in covering the plant closure.

"We get calls from Finland, Italy, Japan, Germany, Denmark," remarked Andy Richardson, Local 95 president. "We're swamped. I get probably 25 to 30 calls from press every day."

One Japanese reporter said the plant closure in Janesville is symbol of changes taking place all over the world.

"Janesville is really a symbol of that 20th century manufacturing job, making things with you hands and taking responsibility to make your family richer, make your community richer, make your society richer," said Taku Nishimae, Japanese Television.

Nishimae is working on a series about how the world is changing.

"So we did a story about the financial problems on Wall Street. Now we're doing a story about the auto industry, which symbolizes the biggest problems of Main Street: manufacturing jobs," explained Nishimae.

Richardson says many of the foreign journalists have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea of a major factory like the Janesville Assembly Plant just shutting down.

"They say I cannot believe you have a government that allows that," said Richardson.

Richardson explained plant closures are difficult in many countries because of strong unions and tight government control over industry. That made the plant closure in Janesville all the more interesting to the foriegn press.

The Japanese journalists said they were well recieved in Janesville.

"Everywhere we go with or without a camera, they're so generous sharing their thoughts, sharing their real, genuine feelings, which is hard to share sometimes, especially with strangers, but they did just that," said Nishimae.

And by sharing their stories, the world will now understand what the GM plant truly meant to the people of Janesville.

Powered by Frankly