General Motors’ decision to idle five plants, trim its salaried workforce by 15 percent and cease North American production of six different models sparked outrage on both sides of the US-Canadian boarder.
Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was the first to speak out as he tweeted “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.” Trudeau went on to say he spoke with GM CEO Mary Barra on Sunday to “express my deep disappointment in the closure [of the Oshawa Assembly Plant in Ontario].”
President Trump’s response wasn’t as measured as he tweeted “Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!”
….for electric cars. General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) – don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2018
Trump went on threaten to cut all GM subsidies – including those for electric vehicles. If this were to happen, it could prove disastrous for the company as it has plans to introduce at least 20 new electric vehicles by 2023. Of course, the company is already nearing its EV tax credit limit so it might not have much effect unless the subsidies are extended.
Regardless, Trump went on to say “General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) – [I] don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!”
Unions were also angered by the move and the UAW said “General Motors decision … to stop production at the Lordstown, Ohio, and Hamtramck, Michigan, assembly plants will idle thousands of workers, and will not go unchallenged.” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes even echoed Trump as he stated “GM’s production decisions, in light of employee concessions during the economic downturn and a taxpayer bailout from bankruptcy, puts profits before the working families of this country whose personal sacrifices stood with GM during those dark days.”
Needless to say, GM is feeling the heat and decided to respond with a short statement saying it is “committed to maintaining a strong manufacturing presence in the U.S.” The automaker went on to say the recently announced cuts are designed to support the company’s future and position it for long-term success so it can “maintain and grow American jobs.”
While that’s little comfort to the thousands of GM employees impacted by the changes, the company said many factory workers will have the option to transfer to other plants where the company builds more successful trucks, crossovers and SUVs. GM went on to say it plans to add new technical and engineering jobs to support future electric and autonomous vehicles.