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GM Will Close 5 North American Plants Next Year

The company’s stock jumps on the announcement, but the United Auto Workers says it will challenge the closings

It’s not clear how many black workers will be affected by the closings

By Frederick H. Lowe


General Motors announced today that it is closing a total of eight plants, five in North America and three elsewhere, eliminating 14,400 hourly and salaried jobs to prepare for the driverless and electric cars of the future. The manufacturer employs 202,000 workers worldwide. It is not known how many African-American workers GM employs but a growing number of studies have shown that blacks are at high risk of losing their jobs because of automation.

The job reductions will cost GM $2 billion in cash, but it will save the manufacturer $6 billion by the end of 2020.

General Motors announced it is shutting down assembly plants in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, the Hamtramck Assembly plant in Detroit and the Lordstown Assembly plant in Warren, Ohio. The plants manufacture the Chevrolet Volt, Cruze, the Impala, the Buick Lacrosse and the Cadillac CT6. The Impala made its debut in 1958 and at one time it was General Motors’ best-selling car now it’s one of the worse selling.

The manufacturer is also closing Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Maryland and Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Michigan. Both are propulsion plants. These closings will affect 6,300 workers.

In addition, General Motors will close an assembly plant in Gunsan, Korea, and two other unnamed plants outside of North America.

All of the plants are scheduled to close in 2019.

In addition, GM will reduce the number of salaried and salaried contract employees by 15 percent and executives by 25 percent, which will streamline decision making. These cuts will affect 8,100 jobs.

“The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.

The United Auto Workers said in a statement that the closings, which will affect thousands of workers, will not go unchallenged.

The UAW and our members will confront this decision by GM through every legal, contractual and collective bargaining avenue open to our membership [concerning closing the North American plants], the UAW said in a statement.

“This callous decision by GM to reduce and cease operations in American plants, while opening or increasing production in Mexico and China plants for sales to American consumers is profoundly damaging to our American workforce,” said Terry Dittes, UAW vice president, and director of the GM Department.

The UAW noted that GM recently announced that the new Chevy Blazer will be assembled in Mexico and exported to the United States for sales.

While the news of GM’s plant closings angered the UAW, Wall Street counted its money as the automaker’s stock rose. The company’s stock rose to $37.65 per share Monday, up $1.72.

GM said it will double its resources over the next two years for the manufacture of electric and autonomous vehicles.

GM made its announcement the same day that the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, reported that 27 percent of African-American workers are at high risk of having their jobs automated.

Congressman Tim Ryan Calls For

Congressional Hearings on GM Tax Cuts

Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) called for Congressional hearings to look into how General Motors (GM) utilized millions of dollars in tax cuts. This comes in the wake of GM's announcement that they are laying off 14,700 workers and closing 5 facilities across North America. GM's plant in Lordstown, Ohio is among those impacted, which will result in the loss of 1,618 jobs once the closure begins in March of 2019. In a letter written to Representatives Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Richard Neal (D-MA) -- Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Ryan called on Congress to hold public hearings into how the corporate leadership of GM used their windfall from the massive tax reform bill passed last year.

"It is squarely within the oversight responsibility of the House Ways and Means Committee to investigate the outcome of this corporate tax handout. I strongly urge the Committee to hold hearings where GM and other corporations who have laid off workers since the passage of the tax break are called to testify regarding tax breaks they received and how this money was spent. The American people deserve to know if the tax cuts they paid for are being used to inflate corporate profits at the expense of their economic security and the survival of American workers,"

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