Local lawmakers call idling of GM Lordstown plant a new 'Black Monday'

Andrew Cummings
November 27, 2018

GM's actions add up to the biggest restructuring for the U.S. No. 1 carmaker since its bankruptcy a decade ago, and mark a turning point for the North American auto industry. GM jumped as much as 7.9 per cent to US$38.75, the highest since July, as of 11.16am in NY trading.

So before heading to Mississipi for a campaign rally, Trump said he had expressed his displeasure to General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra.

GM also said that the company will jettison the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6 sedans next year.

"Everybody's very downhearted", he said.

"Actions are being taken to reduce salaried and salaried contract staff by 15 percent, which includes 25 percent fewer executives to streamline decision making", CEO Mary Barra said.

The United Automobile Workers (UAW) union vowed to "confront this decision by GM through every legal, contractual and collective bargaining avenue open to our membership".

Altogether, GM has five vehicle factories with plenty of unused capacity in Kansas City, Kansas; Lordstown; and Detroit-Hamtramck, Lansing, and Orion Township, Michigan.

- General Motors announced a restructuring plan Monday that will affect thousands of workers in both the United States and Canada.

General Motors says it's going to scale back production, closing plants and cutting up to 15% of salaried jobs nationwide in a move they say will help decrease production costs and keep the company "lean" and "agile", though they stopped short of blaming Trump administration steel tariffs for an increase in production costs.

Plants that will be "unallocated" in 2019 include Lordstown, as well as Detroit-Hamtramck in MI and Oshawa Assembly in Ontario, Canada.

Brown also said it is clear that GM doesn't respect the workers at Lordstown and is demanding answers from the company.

GM told the remaining workers at its sprawling plant in Lordstown on Monday that it is going to shut down all US production of the Chevy Cruze in March 2019.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the shift also affects GM operations in other countries, and the Oshawa facility is the only Canadian plant that will be shuttered. The Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid will also be dropped along with the Chevy Cruze compact (which is sold as the Holden Astra sedan here and built in Korea), which will be made in Mexico for other markets. GM expects to spend $1 billion on Cruise this year to build the next generation of cars.

About 6,000 factory workers could lose jobs in the US and Canada, although some could transfer to truck plants. Ford said in April it planned to stop building almost all cars in North America. On a Monday call, Barra did not blame tariffs directly but said they were one of the headwinds that drove the company to downsize and refocus on electric and autonomous vehicles.

Bobbi Marsh, who has worked assembling the Chevrolet Cruze compact auto at the OH plant since 2008, said she can't understand why the factory might close given the strong economy. GM had been expected to close plants because of struggling sales.

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.

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