Politicians promise help for GM workers; stress that saving plant hopeless


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 focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles.

"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", CEO Mary Barra said in the press release.

The company has marked a sedan plant in Detroit, a compact vehicle plant in OH, and another assembly plant outside Toronto for possible closure.

At a rally near the plant last summer, Trump talked about passing by big factories whose jobs "have left OH", then told people not to sell their homes because the jobs are "coming back".

Canadian officials promised to aid auto workers affected by the 2019 closure, part of a wider restructuring by the automaker that will cut production of slow-selling models and slash its North American workforce.

GM offered buyouts to about 18,000 white-collar workers in the USA and Canada October 2018.

Over the last two years, GM has been removing shifts from the Lordstown plant, causing approximately 3,000 workers to lose their jobs.

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GM will also close two additional plants outside of North America by next year.

The auto manufacturer announced the closures as part of a sweeping strategy to transform its product line and manufacturing process in order to meet changing demand in the transportation industry, a plan that it says will save the company $6 billion by the year 2020.

Along with Oshawa, the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit and Lordstown Assembly in Warren, Ohio, the Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Maryland and Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Michigan will be left "unallocated".

About 335 work at the Warren Transmission plant, which produces six-speed transmission for the GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS and Electric Drive Unit for Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, and Buick Velite.

Ford says the province has called on the federal government to extend employment insurance eligibility by five weeks to a maximum of 50 weeks. The cuts would not benefit the balance sheet until 2019, and GM conceded that it will consider layoffs at the start of 2019 if not enough workers accept the buyout.

I am deeply frustrated with General Motors' decision to shut down its Lordstown plant and disappointed with how the hardworking employees there have been treated throughout this process.

Some 3,600 production jobs will go in the U.S. and 3,000 in Canada, as well as 8,100 white-collar roles.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had spoken to Barra to express his "deep disappointment in the closure" of the plant in the Ontarian town of Oshawa.

General Motors Co.'s pre-emptive strike to get leaner before the next downturn likely will be followed by Ford Motor Co., which has said it is restructuring and will lay off an unspecified number of white-collar workers.

Barra said in a conference call with reporters that she wanted to transition the company when times were good.

"We can't afford billions in tax giveaways to these large companies when those same companies are pulling up stakes and leaving people out of work", NDP MP Guy Caron said during question period.

The moves are meant to shift resources to investing in electric and autonomous vehicles and to prepare for a downturn in the auto market, the automaker said. The automaker intends to close the plant in December, 2019.

Oshawa Mayor John Henry said he hopes the news is "just a rumour", and adds that he had not spoken to anyone from GM.

"We need to make sure that we are well positioned to compete, not just over the next few years, but well beyond", she said.

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