General Motors CEO Mary Barra has issued an official statement following her meeting with congressional delegations from Michigan, Ohio and Maryland.
Barra was meeting with lawmakers from the three states following GM’s decision to close its Detroit-Hamtramck and Warren Transmission plants in Michigan, Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio and Baltimore Operations facility in Maryland. The decision is expected to impact 6,000 salaried employees and put the jobs of another 3,300 hourly workers at risk.
“I had a very constructive meeting today with members of the Michigan congressional delegation,” Barra said in a prepared statement. “I share their concerns about the impact the actions we announced last week will have on our employees, their families and the communities. These were very difficult decisions — decisions I take very personally. I reiterated to all members I met with this week from Michigan, Ohio and Maryland that many hourly employees at the impacted U.S. plants will have the opportunity to work at other U.S. GM plants and that we are committed to working with them to minimize the impact on the communities. I also informed them that all salaried GM workers impacted by these actions are being offered outplacement services to help them transition to new jobs.”
One representative, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield, blasted GM for its decision to build the Chevrolet Blazer in Mexico and not the United States during the meeting.
“There was a recent decision to make the new Chevy Blazer in Mexico,” Peters was quoted by The Detroit News in saying. “They moved production for that Blazer to a factory that had excess capacity, whereas we had excess capacity in the United States. The Chevy Blazer should be made in the United States, with American workers.”
Barra defended GM’s decision to build the Blazer south of the border, saying that decision was made “many years ago” and at that time, Lordstown was running at full capacity. She also pointed out that GM is building the Cadillac XT4 in Fairfax, Kansas.
Lawmakers and employees are frustrated with GM for pulling the plug on the factories, but the fate of the sites is still yet to be decided. While work at the Michigan, Ohio and Maryland plants is scheduled to end in 2019, GM will enter negotiations with the United Auto Workers union to decide if they will remain closed for good.