100th anniversary party for GM in Flint?





A 100th birthday party, one would think, is cause for special celebration.

But here in Flint, the honoree is the company that both built the city and left much of it collapsed. And so, like generations of a family recognizing a controversial patriarch, people here are taking note of the centennial of the founding of General Motors with a complicated mixture of respect and anger, pride and hurt.

“It’s still good they’re doing something for Flint,” said Fred Morse, 34, a self-employed construction worker whose father worked for G.M. for 36 years. “But people need jobs more than they need entertainment and free hot dogs.”

In the 1970s, General Motors employed some 80,000 people in the Flint area, and it seems everyone here is tied to the company in one way or another. Those who did not work at G.M. rattle off the names of relatives who did. But as G.M. shed jobs and moved others abroad, its employment in Flint dwindled. Today, about 8,000 area residents work for the company.


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