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.