Union clings to GM plant in area where Trump promised jobs

28 November, 2018, 00:22 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • GM to Close 8 Plants, Lay Off Close to 15,000 Workers

General Motors on Monday announced it will cut up to 14,000 workers in North America and put seven plants up for possible closure worldwide as it abandons many of its auto models and restructures to focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles. These include workers at assembly facilities in Detroit; Warren, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario, Canada; as well as at propulsion plants in White Marsh, Maryland; and Warren, Michigan.

GM also said Monday it will close two unidentified assembly plants outside of North America by the end of next year.

Youngtown is in a Democratic and labor stronghold, where Trump won over a surprising number of voters two years ago because of his promise to bring work back to the U.S.

But its outlook is bleak after GM announced production of the Chevy Cruze would stop in March, halting work at the assembly plant that already had lost two shifts and 3,000 union jobs since the beginning of a year ago.

GM expects the actions announced Monday to contribute $6 billion in cash savings by 2020 - $4.5 billion in cost reductions and $1.5 billion in lower capital expenditures.

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The restructuring reflects the changing USA and North American auto markets as manufacturers continue a dramatic shift away from cars toward SUVs and trucks.

"We call on GM today, just as they called on all of us over a decade ago, please save our American jobs", UAW vice president Terry Dittes said.

General Motors, once a bellwether of American manufacturing, is facing outrage after announcing it plans to cut thousands of jobs, even though it is profitable. The stock is still down about 7 percent this year.

"Based on commitments made during 2016 contract negotiations, Unifor does not accept this announcement and is immediately calling on GM to live up to the spirit of that agreement", the union said in a statement on its website.

Five GM vehicle plants are operating at 37 percent capacity, according to the Center for Automotive Research.

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Shares of GM, the largest automaker in the US which sells the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC brands, rose almost 6 percent on the news to $37.93 in midday trading Monday.

The plan is a continuation of a 2015 strategy the company laid out, the news release states. Some US workers would transfer to truck and SUV plants where GM is increasing output, the company said.

Up until Monday, GM was steadfast is saying it saw opportunity in surrendered passenger vehicle segments, which crosstown rivals Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles previously announced plans to primarily exit. The Canadian plant appeared to be most in danger of closing.

The No 1 USA carmaker signalled the latest belt-tightening in late October when it offered buyouts to 50 000 salaried employees in North America, with the aim of reducing headcount by 18 000. The company said it is looking to concentrate on mid-size vehicles and pick-ups. They are working together to come up with a solution that works for GM and the employees.

The plant in Lordstown, Ohio, which makes the Chevrolet Cruze compact vehicle also is on the list, and Barra said the Cruze would no longer be sold in the U.S. Production would stop March 1.

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Trump says he's being very tough on GM chief executive officer Mary Barra.

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