GM Delays Sunday’s Third Shift in Flint So Workers Can Watch Lions

Workers inspect General Motors Co. (GM) Chevrolet 2019 Silverado HD and 2019 GMC Sierra HD pickup trucks on the assembly line at the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Well, here’s a line shift that won’t draw a penalty—or any complaints from the Detroit Lions or their gritty head coach, Dan Campbell.

General Motors has delayed Sunday’s 10 p.m.–7 a.m. shift at its Flint Assembly plant, which is roughly 70 miles northwest of Detroit, so that employees won’t miss any of the Lions’ NFC championship football game in San Francisco. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. EST. The contest is the first NFC title game the Lions have participated in since the 1991 season.

In a social media post informing its 1500 third-shift workers of the change, GM wrote, “We recognize the Detroit Lions playing in an NFC Championship game as a rare, unique opportunity that warrants this temporary schedule adjustment to allow employees to enjoy the game and to make it to work on time.”

reddit detroit lions GM message to employees at Flint factory

GM spokesman Kevin Kelly confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that normal production will begin at 10:42 p.m. for Body and Paint, and at 11 p.m. for General Assembly. The Flint Assembly plant is the only GM plant with a third shift on Sundays. It builds the HD, or heavy-duty, versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.


So far, no other Detroit-based automaker has followed suit. In fact, Stellantis (which owns the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram brands) has already punted the idea. A spokesperson says that although the automaker “is proud of our hometown team … Stellantis will run normal production schedules on Sunday to meet the expectations of our customers and dealers.”

Prior to this month’s NFC playoff victories over the Rams and Buccaneers, the Lions hadn’t won a playoff game in more than three decades, so naturally the reaction to General Motors’ announcement was met with jubilation. One person wrote on Reddit, “This brings a tear to my eyes.” Another joked, “‘We aren’t going to give you a raise, but we’re going to let you watch the Lions game [instead]. Ok, I’m good with that.” A third wondered, “So what happens if the game goes into overtime???”

Perhaps the best comment of all (posted on Instagram) was discovered by the Free Press: “In my 13+ years at GM I’ve never seen a postponement to start the week … even 2 feet of snow wouldn’t do it lol. This is for the city! Go Lions!”

flint assembly gm
AFP via Getty Images

While many commenters suggest that GM is just trying to avoid mass absenteeism at the Flint plant, there’s no doubt that the automaker’s decision is at the very least a great public relations move. It certainly isn’t a free gift, however, as third-shifters will lose an hour’s pay.

That brings us to this: Although the Lions are owned by the Ford family, Ford Motor Company has not yet announced if it is going to adjust its third-shift schedule. Perhaps it is holding out for a Super Bowl? Regardless, we’re guessing there will soon be a massive outbreak of the Silver and Honolulu Blue (Oval) flu … right about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Here’s our prescription: Football, pizza, and beer. Cheers to Detroit.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions 2024
DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 21: Amon-Ra St. Brown #14 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a touchdown with Taylor Decker #68 while playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a NFC Divisional Playoff game at Ford Field on January 21, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images




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    That is very nice of GM to be able to cheer on their team. My Dad was a Master Tech, and went thru the General Motors College, now Kettering. Then GM moved us to Lansing Michigan for Dad to move into Management Training. Dad loved being hands on. He would supervise the line and jump right in, if an extra hand was needed. Or he would show them simpler ways to do a process. He made many ‘tools’ over the years, to get into those tight places. Dad took us to his work to give us the tour there in Flint a couple times. Occasionally Mom would take us up to eat Lunch with Dad at the Factory. Dad worked for GM from 1951 until 2002, for 51 years! Very dedicated to his work and wife and us six children.

    “the Detroit Lions playing in an NFC Championship game as a rare, unique opportunity…”

    I’m not sure if that’s simply an accurate statement or a subtle dig at the crosstown owner’s team. 😄

    Probably a good idea to give the time off. Would you really want a car manufactured during the same time as the game? I can imagine all the quality issues.

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