Buffalo in the 60’s: Things looking up for the auto & steel industries

By Steve Cichon

Fifty years ago, the U.S. auto industry was coming off a record year, and the number of autoworkers churning out car parts in Buffalo area plants was also at record levels.

More than 20,000 Western New Yorkers worked in one of four GM/Chevy plants, and just under 5,000 worked for Ford. All plants were at or just under peace-time employment records, and 50 years ago yesterday, The News went plant-by-plant for an update on what’s to come.

Today, in 2015, there are about 20,500 fewer Western New York paychecks coming from Detroit’s big automakers.

There are 1,805 employees at GM’s Tonawanda Engine Plant and 1,587 at the GM Lockport components plant. Ford reports 961 workers at the Woodlawn Stamping Plant, for a 2014 total of about 4,400 employees at sites owned by auto manufacturers in Buffalo.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.