The Challenge of Repurposing the Plant
The Associated Press has conducted an inventory of the 128 auto plants closed by the Big Three since 1980 and the results are discouraging.
Only about three in five has been repurposed for a new use. Those that have been reopened are employing far few workers at lower wages.
“The cost is going to be borne by the next generation,” said James Rubenstein, a professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, who has studied U.S. auto plant closings and openings. “It’s the children and grandchildren of the laid-off workers. They won’t have the opportunities in those communities.”
The problem is made worse by a slumping commercial real estate market and environmental hazards common at manufacturing sites.