General Motors kicked-off Monday with a slew of company-wide announcements that will transform the company, and affected communities, in the coming months and years. The Detroit automaker announced layoffs, plant closures in the U.S. and Canada, and model discontinuations. There was a swift response to the news. Workers in Canada walked off the line as the plant’s union, Unifor, condemned news of the Oshawa, Ontario, facility. Even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in on the news. Another organization unhappy with GM’s announcement is the United Auto Workers. GM plans to close four facilities in the U.S.
“This callous decision by GM to reduce or cease operations in American plants, while opening or increasing production in Mexico and China plants for sales to American consumers, is, in its implementation, profoundly damaging to our American workforce,” said Terry Dittes, UAW Vice President, Director GM Department, in a UAW statement criticizing the announcement.
The United Auto Workers took aim at GM’s production practices, noting the automaker is building vehicles outside the U.S. only to import them for American consumers. For example. GM assembles some Chevy and GMC pickups in Mexico. The new 2019 Chevy Blazer will also see production in Mexico. The Buick Envision is assembled in China.
“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,” Dittes added. “These decisions are a slap in the face to the memory and recall of that historical American made bailout.”
While news of the closures and layoffs are shocking, the decision to close the facilities isn’t final. The United Auto Workers and GM will have to negotiate the plant closures, and the UAW isn’t backing down without a fight.
“The UAW and our members will confront this decision by GM through every legal, contractual, and collective bargaining avenue open to our membership,” said the union.
The plants are scheduled to be “unallocated” sometime next year.