Multinational automaker General Motors (GM) removed its made-in-Mexico red Chevrolet Blazer SUV from a display at Detroit, Michigan’s Comerica Park this week after backlash from American workers.
GM had perched the made-in-Mexico Chevy Blazer on an enormous Chevrolet display — alongside the Chevrolet Silverado which is made in Fort Wayne, Indiana — in Comerica Park for the Detroit Tigers’ opening day this week.
GM executives’ decision to display the Chevy Blazer for opening day at Comerica Park came after the corporation decided to lay off thousands of American workers of the last two years, and most recently shuttered the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant — resulting in the immediate layoff of about 1,600 U.S. workers at the plant and experts predicting more than 8,000 Americans laid off from supporting industries in the area.
Comerica Park is the home of the Detroit Tigers, one of the country’s oldest baseball franchises. GM has featured its vehicles on the Chevrolet Fountain at centerfield for 10 years. The made-in-Mexico Chevy Blazer, though, quickly came under fire from Detroit locals.
“When you have people that are being put out of work that you should stand behind your product, stand behind the people that support you and put it on display,” Detroit resident Katie Cesarz, who believes the display is insensitive to American GM workers, told WXYZ-TV Detroit.
“This is Detroit, Motor City,” a resident told WXYZ-TV Detroit. “Why do we have a car from Mexico?”
The display of the made-in-Mexico Chevy Blazer also garnered immediate backlash from United Auto Workers (UAW) members and state representatives.
“It’s very distasteful for people,” a UAW worker at GM’s Detroit plant told the Detroit Free Press. “We’ve done outings to Tigers games. I don’t know if that’ll change or not based on the product sitting on the marque. We have a lot of pride.”
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who represents the district that includes Lordstown, Ohio called GM’s display of the made-in-Mexico Chevy Blazer a “slap in the face” to American workers and those whom GM has laid off over the last few years to outsource production to foreign countries.
“It’s a slap in the face for American workers to showcase foreign-made cars alongside America’s pastime,” Ryan said in a statement. “This tone-deaf display is an insult to their tireless work and dedication to this company. GM should know and do better.”
Following the uproar from American workers, GM decided to scrap the Chevy Blazer display and changed it out for a Chevy Traverse, which is made in the U.S.
While GM has laid off its American workforce in Lordstown, and plans to lay off thousands of more Americans this year by closing its Detroit-Hamtramck and Warren Transmission plants in Michigan, as well as the Baltimore Operations plant in Maryland, GM is ramping up production of electric cars in China and offshoring to foreign countries to cut hundreds of millions in labor costs to widen their profit margins.
In Poland, GM builds the Buick Cascada coupe but sells the vehicle in the U.S. Similarly, GM is manufacturing its Buick Envision compact SUV and Cadillac CT6 sedan in China while manufacturing the Chevrolet Cruze, the Chevrolet Equinox SUV, the Chevrolet Trax compact SUV, the Chevrolet Silverado, the GMC Sierra, the Chevrolet Blazer SUV, and the GMC Terrain SUV all in Mexico.
As has been seen with other working and middle-class American communities, outsourcing and offshoring of U.S. manufacturing industries and jobs to cut labor costs for corporate executives has devastated entire regions of the country.
Weirton, West Virginia, for example, once boomed with 15,000 residents employed at steel mills. Free trade and outsourcing in the 1990s spurred mass layoffs in the American steel industry, leaving just 800 workers in the town still employed at steel mills.
American manufacturing is vital to the U.S. economy, as every one manufacturing job supports an additional 7.4 American jobs in other industries. Decades of free trade, with deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has eliminated nearly five million manufacturing jobs from the American economy and resulted in the closure of nearly 50,000 manufacturing plants.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.