The turmoil surrounding the idling and potential closure of four General Motors manufacturing plants in the United States continues, and Democratic Congressman Andy Levin of Michigan took aim at CEO Mary Barra.
In a new interview with Cheddar, Rep. Levin said he does not accept that GM’s choices to idle the Lordstown, Detroit-Hamtramck, and two other transmission plants are just “business.” “I am not happy with Mary Barra. I do not accept business will be business, they have to make tough decisions. The decisions she is making is to ship our jobs to Mexico and it’s not necessary.”
Rep. Levin added he’s thrilled to see the $300 million investment in the Orion Township plant, where GM plans to build a new Chevrolet electric car, but he wants to see more. He alluded to the fact GM is now the largest automaker in Mexico as it continues to assemble more vehicles in the southern country.
In 2016, GM paid Mexican auto workers $1.90 per hour. The current UAW contract stipulates that worker wages must start at $17 per hour in the U.S. Over eight years, the hourly wage increases to $28 per hour. GM said when it announced its U.S. manufacturing restructuring that ending production at the four affected plants will save $6 billion by 2020. The automaker also said when it was ready to allocate production of the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer that there wasn’t a U.S. plant with production space for the crossover. At this time, for example, the Lordstown plant was still running three shifts to build the Chevrolet Cruze. The factoid underscores that these decisions aren’t made in a week, or even a couple of years.
Rep. Levin added that the only reason many lawmakers at President Trump are upset with the automaker is because of GM’s apparent focus on Mexico production while it continues to shelve jobs in the U.S.
GM operates four auto production plants in Mexico that build vehicles locally for the country and for export to the U.S. and Canada. GM Authority has previously compiled a full list of the models built in the country and exported for domestic sale. Note, the list now includes the Blazer, which has entered production.