Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Trump's economic moves fail to prevent GM closures

GM to slash 14,700 jobs in North America GM job cuts draw angry reaction in heartland that backed Trump
| 27 November, 2018, 07:17

According to a WKBN-TV report, production of the Chevy Cruze at the Lordstown plant will stop in March. GM now employs roughly 54,000 workers in North America.

About 6,000 factory workers could lose jobs in the US and Canada, although some could transfer to truck and SUV plants. In 2016, he surprised Hillary Clinton by flipping regions such as Trumbull County, Ohio, near GM's Lordstown plant that now is closing.

Trump's victories in OH and MI helped seal his electoral vote total and the United States presidency.

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

The US$6-billion in savings includes cost reductions of US$4.5 billion and lower capital expenditure annually of nearly US$1.5 billion, GM said.

The job cuts from GM's current 180,000-strong work force will be particularly stinging in politically crucial areas of OH and MI, a region US President Donald Trump has promised to revive.

The layoffs will hit 8,000 white-collar employees and at least 5,900 blue-collar workers. The Detroit carmaker then opened its own plant in 1953, with production boosted by the 1965 auto pact that allowed cars to be shipped more easily to the US market.

Barra on Monday portrayed the decision to put five North American factories on notice for potential closure and cut almost 15,000 jobs as necessary to keep the company strong as it plows money into new technology and new businesses such as robo-taxi services.

Too many of GM's factories are operating on a single shift to build models that have fallen out of favor, leading its plants to run about 1 million vehicles short of their full capacity, said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor and economics for the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


But carmaking in Oshawa stretches back to 1909, when the McLaughlin carriage company began making Buick cars, eventually combining with Chevrolet when General Motors was formed.

GM doesn't foresee an economic downturn and is making the cuts "to get in front of it while the company is strong and while the economy is strong," Barra told reporters.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he talked to the head of GM on Sunday and was told "the ship has already left the dock" when he asked if there was anything Ontario could do.

A sign stands outside Oshawa's General Motors auto assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont. GM Canada said it will slow production and temporarily lay off employees at the factory as switches over to truck from vehicle production to address shifting USA buyer preferences.

"I've moved my family twice for this company and they do this to me", a tearful worker told CBC TV as he left the plant.

In addition, the Baltimore, Maryland and Warren, Michigan propulsion plants will remain unallocated.

Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from OH, helped shepherd through landmark corporate tax cuts past year as a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, of which Brown is also a member. But sales of the Chevrolet Cruze are off 22 percent.

Detroit-Hamtramck now builds the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Impala, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6.

Unifor President Jerry Dias blasted GM for the decision when we spoke earlier Monday, calling it the "ultimate betrayal" and promising a big fight with the company. Over the years, Oshawa has been responsible for producing cars from GM's most important brands, including Chevrolet, Buick and Pontiac, and it is equipped to make just about every model GM sells.

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