Last week, General Motors announced a slew of restructuring changes that don’t bode well for current employees in the U.S. and Canada. The restructuring, a $6 billion endeavor, calls for layoffs, plant closures, and ending the production of six models—Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt, and Buick LaCrosse. The proposed GM layoffs are the saddest news, though. Employees were surprised by GM’s announcement last week as the automaker gave employees no notice about the news. While layoffs are always devastating, single-parent households will feel the brunt, especially in Detroit where nearly 72 percent of households have just one parent, according to the Detroit Free Press. That could mean the closure of the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant could affect an already vulnerable demographic more than usual.
The news should come as no surprise. Over the years there’s been a rise in single-parent households, and with only one income, sustaining a family becomes difficult when the breadwinner has no job. Peggy Jones, a UAW representative at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, is raising her five teenage grandchildren on just one income. She’s also concerned about other single parents who work at the factory.
“At the age I am now, it would be very hard to find another job doing as well as I am now,” Jones told the Freep. “It would be really tough for the kids.”
It doesn’t help that 31 percent of single-parent homes with children far below the poverty threshold. Single parents also have a tougher time finding employment—8.6 percent of single parents are unemployed. If the proposed GM layoffs go through, there could be a snowballing effect throughout the automotive industry, according to Timothy Hodge, assistant professor of economics at Oakland University, who spoke with the Detroit publication.
Right now, General Motors is only proposing the layoffs and plant closures. Many of the details need to be hammered out with the United Auto Works union, which won’t take kindly to being blindsided by the announcement. If anything, the next year will be full of fear and anxiety for many who work at the four U.S. factories slated for closure. If/when the GM layoffs come, they’re likely to decimate communities and households—it’ll affect some quicker than others.