Trump administration exerting "a lot of pressure" following GM layoff announcement

Marcus Newton
November 28, 2018

The reductions could amount to as much as 8 percent of GM's global workforce of 180,000 employees.

The announcement is the biggest restructuring in North America for the US's largest automaker since its bankruptcy a decade ago. General Motors will follow rival Ford's example by removing most of the sedan lineup for that market.

General Motors announced Monday it will stop small-car production at its assembly plant near Youngstown and consider closing it for good. Some will take buyouts while others will be laid off.

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.

OH lawmakers urged GM to reconsider. The company also plans to stop building several models now assembled at those plants, including the Chevrolet Cruze, the Cadillac CT6 and the Buick LaCrosse.

While industry-wide passenger vehicle sales were down 13.2 percent through the first nine months of the year, pick-up truck and SUV sales rose 8.3 percent.

"GM workers have been part of the heart and soul of Oshawa for generations - and we'll do everything we can to help the families affected by this news get back on their feet", he said. These would most likely affect three assembly plants in Detroit, Ohio and Ontario as well as two factories in MI and Maryland that build transmissions and batteries. "So I think you're going to see something else happen there, but I'm not happy about it", he said. "It's hard. It's disgusting". Workers also will be added at an SUV factory in Arlington, Texas. The couple has an 11-month-old at home.

A sign is displayed at General Motors Lordstown Wast plant, November 27, 2018, in Lordstown, Ohio.

During a press briefing at the White House, Chief Economic Advsor Larry Kudlow sent the same message. "So far President Trump has been asleep at the switch and owes this community an explanation", Ryan said Monday.

"Well, we don't like it", Trump told reporters Monday (video below).

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The company said the cuts - 2,500 jobs in Oshawa, GM's Canadian heartland, as well as 3,300 production workers in the US and 8,000 salaried staff - are part of a dramatic course correction aimed at better positioning GM for the dominance of electrified, interconnected and automated automobiles.

"Let me tell you folks in OH and in this area, don't sell your house", Trump said at the time, to wild applause "We're going to get those jobs coming back, and we're going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build brand-new ones".

GM closed its Holden factory in South Australia in October 2017, ending more than a century of vehicle manufacturing on the continent. In October, nearly 65 percent of new vehicles sold in the USA were trucks or SUVs.

The Detroit-based union has already condemned GM's actions and threatened to fight them "through every legal, contractual and collective bargaining avenue open to our membership".

Just a short while later, Valley lawmakers and state officials began reacting to the news that at least temporarily GM Lordstown will close its doors. I spoke with her when I heard they were closing.

"It's like we're in a limbo now", said Marsh, a single mother who said she has a teaching degree to fall back on if the plant is closed. I want workers to do well and worker wages to do well, and they are. "It would be like breaking up a family".

GM said it will take pre-tax charges of $3bn to $3.8bn to pay for the cutbacks, but expects the actions to improve annual free cash flow by $6bn by the end of 2020.

Congressman Bill Johnson said he was very disappointed about GM's decision to close the plant, but was hopeful for the future.

General Motors will cut up to 14,000 workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it abandons many of its auto models and restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles.

In an investor call, Barra said some GM cars would no longer be available in North America, including the Chevrolet Cruze. In all, six auto models were scrapped, leaving the company with nine remaining vehicle models. The Cruze compact vehicle will be discontinued in the USA market in 2019.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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