General Motors To Lay Off Nearly 15,000 Workers, Close Plants

GM workers picket at an entrance to the General Motors' assembly plant in Oshawa

General Motors To Lay Off Nearly 15,000 Workers, Close Plants

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is unveiled during the 2012 New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center in New York April 4, 2012.

General Motors is closing a Canadian plant at the cost of about 2,500 jobs, but that is apparently just a piece of a much broader, company-wide restructuring that will be announced as early as Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.

The restructuring announcement also comes after Canada and the USA reached the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, after months of strained negotiations. "We all know there is strong demand for manufacturing space in Detroit and we are willing to work with GM to fill all the available manufacturing space at Poletown with either GM-related entities or other companies".

The plant produces the Chevrolet Impala, the Cadillac XTS and the Chevrolet Silverado. Also affected are propulsion plants in Warren, Michigan, as well as in White Marsh, Maryland. "We're going to get those jobs coming back, and we're going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build brand-new ones".

"We have no news or comment tonight and won't be commenting to others on speculation", a spokesperson for GM said on Sunday.

"We supported GM, as everyone remembers, years ago when they were in trouble ... our history goes back 100 years with General Motors and to say we're disappointed is an understatement".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had spoken to Barra to express his "deep disappointment in the closure" of the plant in the Ontarian town of Oshawa.

This restructuring plan will drastically change GM's product lineup.

"The UAW and our members will confront this decision by GM through every legal, contractual and collective bargaining avenue open to our membership", the union said in a statement. "These actions are expected to increase annual adjusted automotive free cash flow by $6 billion by year-end 2020 on a run-rate basis", the company said in a statement.

"In contrast to times past..."

In the meantime, GM is trying to reinvent how it makes vehicles.

The salaried reductions amount to 15 percent of GM's North American white-collar workforce of 54,000. Executive ranks will also be whittled down by 25 percent to streamline decision making. At GM's Detroit headquarters on Monday, there were signs directing people to a "new hire orientation" meeting. In the 1980s the three plants produced as many as 730,000 cars and trucks a year, and employed about 23,000 people. In all, GM plans to cut 10,000 jobs in North America.

"In the past four years, GM has refocused capital and resources to support the growth of its crossovers, SUVs and trucks, adding shifts and investing $6.6 billion in US plants that have created or maintained 17,600 jobs", the company said Monday.

The GM vehicle plant has always been woven into the fabric of the town. The automaker in June ended the second shift at its factory in Lordstown, Ohio, cutting 1,500 workers.

The Oshawa operation became a talking point for U.S. President Donald Trump during Canada-U.S. trade negotiations, according to a Toronto Star report about an off-the-record aside during an interview with Bloomberg News over the summer.

GM's latest move includes the possible closure of seven plants worldwide, as the firm shifts its focuses from away from a stagnant sedan/saloon vehicle market.

Rivals Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have both curtailed USA vehicle production. Ford said in April it planned to stop building almost all cars in North America.

The industry-wide slowdown in passenger auto sales worsened in 2017.

The restructuring reflects the changing United States and North American auto markets as manufacturers continue a dramatic shift away from cars toward SUVs and trucks. Thanks in part to low gas prices, Americans have been buying more SUVs and crossovers (like the Honda CR-V) than smaller cars like the Cruze. The Impala is built at the GM plant in Oshawa. Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac CT6, which are built at Hamtramck, were down 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

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