General Motors' upcoming restructuring plan where more than 10,000 jobs will be cut and five factories losing products has caused many politicians to become very upset. Yesterday, CEO Mary Barra traveled to Capitol Hill to try an mitigate the social damage by this announcement. Those expecting Barra to backpedal or balk under pressure from various lawmakers on moving production of certain vehicles out of Mexico to plants in the U.S. would come away disappointed.
“I want to make sure that the workforce knows that there are limitations and we do have an overcapacity across the country. I understand this is something that impacts the country and I understand that there is a lot of emotion and concern about it,” Barra told reporters in a press conference after meeting Senators Sherrod Brown (Democrat) and Rob Portman (Republican) of Ohio.
The two senators have been critical about the plan and pushed Barra in their meeting to get a new product in Lordstown, whether that be one of the 20 new EVs GM is planning or move production of the Chevrolet Blazer from Mexico.
“GM says it expects to build 20 new EVs in next five years. We want one or more of those vehicles to be built in Lordstown, Ohio. That’s where it belongs,” said Portman.
Barra said during the meeting she'll "keep an open mind but she doesn't want to raise expectations."
Speaking to Reuters, Barra said it would “very costly” to shift production from Mexico of the Chevrolet Blazer that will begin shortly. But she did mention "GM planned to add other products at U.S. plants next year." Whether that includes Lordstown or not remains to be seen as negotiations with the UAW kick off next year.
President Donald Trump has been very critical of this plan, saying he could eliminate federal subsidies on electric cars - something that would hurt other automakers more than GM as it's close to 200,000 mark where the $7,500 subsidy begins to fade. When asked about this, Barra gave an indirect answer.
“I understand this is something that impacts the country and I understand that there is a lot of emotion and concern about it,” said Barra.
She continued by saying GM wanted to “do the right thing for our employees but also make sure General Motors is strong and lean in the future.”
GM Statement: Chairman and CEO Mary Barra on meetings with members of Congress from Ohio and Maryland
“I had very constructive meetings with members of Congress from Ohio and Maryland. 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 informed the members 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.”