The 3,500 workers at General Motors Corp.'s plant on Broening Highway were to begin filling out unemployment compensation forms today in preparation for a three-week shutdown.
Starting Monday, the East Baltimore plant that makes minivans will be closed for two weeks to reduce production in the wake of sagging automobile sales nationwide. The shutdown is to be followed by the traditional one-week holiday closing of the plant until Jan. 2.
In addition to receiving state unemployment benefits, the workers will get payments from GM that will enable them to receive 85 percent of their normal pay for two of the weeks of the shutdown. They also are to get normal holiday pay from GM for the traditional week off from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2.
To handle the large number of applicants, state workers will be at the plant today to begin processing the unemployment compensation forms.
Some workers will face some hardship because of the cut in pay and the delay in receiving it, according to Rodney Trump, president of Local 239 of the United Automobile Workers. "It will be a pain," he said.
The workers, who normally are paid each week, will have to wait 10 days to get unemployment benefits, according to a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development.
The supplemental payments and holiday pay from GM will not be received until January, according to Trump.
These delays are particularly hard since it is coming just before Christmas, Trump said. "The combination of these things are not affecting them very well," he said of the workers.