Approximately 60 community members attended WKAR's Community Cinema screening of "As Goes Janesville" on October 18, and engaged in a discussion with four guests who addressed the similarities and differences of the issues presented in the film and those in Lansing when the General Motors plant threatened to close.
The Independent Lens film followed the events in Janesville, Wisconsin after the city's GM plant closed. Lansing faced this situation as well, but the GM plant in Lansing remained open, if reduced in scope.
Speakers Enhance the Story
After the film, guests heard from David Hollister, the former mayor of Lansing who spearheaded the Keep GM Lansing committee; Jack Davis, former Chamber of Commerce president; and UAW president Mike Green. All were part of the community effort when GM was considering leaving Michigan's capital city. Ray Tadgerson, project manager for the Keep GM Lansing effort, moderated the discussion.
The panel addressed the specific ways in which, after learning GM was planning a pull-out from Lansing in five years, Lansing came together in a concerted effort to keep the manufacturer in the community. Collaboration was stressed as key, with management, labor, business, local and regional government, MSU and other community entities joined forces to court GM and reinforce the case for keeping GM in Lansing. The panel also addressed lessons learned from that period.
After the presentation, guests had the opportunity to question the panel.
"As Goes Janesville" can be viewed for a limited time at video.wkar.org. For additional information on the program, including an interview with the director, photo album and talk-back page can be found at pbs.org/independentlens.