Japan Quake Causes 59 Layoffs in Tonawanda

March 18, 2011 Updated Mar 18, 2011 at 6:38 PM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

March 18, 2011 Updated Mar 18, 2011 at 6:38 PM EDT

Tonawanda, NY

Executives at the GM plant in Tonawanda announced the layoffs of 59 permanent, full-time employees Thursday and Friday as a direct result of the catastrophe in Japan. The laid off workers are part of the UAW Local 774 and should be eligible for various unemployment benefits.

The Tonawanda plant makes engines that go into the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon. They then ship those engines to the GM assembly pant in Shreveport, Louisiana. But due to a parts shortage from Japan, the Louisiana plant has suspended all truck production and plans to completely shut down the Shreveport plant by March 21st.

But despite the hardship for manufacturers here their thoughts are with the victims of this terrible disaster.

"Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Japan and their families as they work to recover from this horrible disaster. So we really feel for them and we just hope that they can get things back on line as soon as possible, and we'll be ready to build engines again," commented Mary Ann Brown, Plant Communications Manager of the GM Tonawanda Plant.

The layoffs are indefinite and there is no word on when the employees at either plant will be called back to work.