GM's Barra meets with MI lawmakers about factory closings

Irving Hamilton
December 7, 2018

General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra came under harsh criticism from members of Congress from MI on Thursday for building a new vehicle in Mexico while ending production at five North American assembly plants and cutting almost 15,000 jobs.

"I want to make sure that the workforce knows that there are limitations and we do have an overcapacity across the country", Barra said, urging workers at plants set to close to take seriously offers of GM jobs in other parts of the countries. "These were very hard decisions - decisions I take very personally", she added.

"GM says it expects to build 20 new EVs in next five years". We want to keep that product here. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

Mary Barra emerged from the Washington meeting Thursday, saying it was "very productive".

Lawmakers were angered by the lack of notice before GM's job cut announcement last week and wanted assurances that GM would not be closing additional USA plants.

"I share their concerns about the impact the actions we announced last week will have on our employees, their families and the communities", Barra said in the statement.

GM said last week it would close five North American assembly plants next year and cut up to 15,000 jobs as it blames slow selling vehicle sales for the need to restructure. Others have pointed out that the USA plants are being eliminated after GM has expanded in Mexico, less than a decade after American taxpayers bailed out the bankrupt 'old GM'.

Barra defended the company's decision to overhaul its production and facilities in an exclusive interview with FOX Business' Edward Lawrence while adding that the company is focused is on the workers and ensuring that GM remains a leader in the rapidly changing auto industry.

She cast the decision to downsize as critical to keep GM competitive. UAW Local 1112 had agreed to outsource some skilled trades work in hopes that GM would allocate more work, the people said.

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Barra met on Wednesday with Ohio's Congressional delegation about the planned closure of the sprawling Lordstown Assembly plant, which makes the Chevrolet Cruze.

"We're not asking for charity".

"I'm hopeful that we will get a new product here", Green said in a telephone interview.

Barra herself told reporters that GM was taking the steps it had to take to respond to a quickly evolving industry, and insisted the company was trying to be a "good corporate citizen".

After Thursday's meeting U.S. Rep.

Brown has criticized GM over its announced closures partly citing the new corporate tax cut that will benefit the company.

Administration officials later said they wanted to end subsidies for electric cars in 2020 or 2021, affecting GM and other automakers. Salaried workers will receive outplacement assistance "to help them transition to new jobs".

"We did get answers as to some of the decisions that they made".

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