GM Starts Laying Off Thousands of American Workers

In this Nov. 28, 2018 photo, Tom Wolikow, a General Motors employee who is currently laid-off, left, takes a phone call at home alongside his fiance Rochelle Carlisle, right, in Warren, Ohio. It was working-class voters who bucked the area's history as a Democratic stronghold and backed Donald Trump in …
AP Photo/John Minchillo

Executives at General Motors (GM) have started laying off American workers in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Georgia, and Texas, while the multinational corporation is reportedly expanding production in China and Mexico.

In what insiders are calling “Black Monday,” American workers at GM — those in factory, financial, and other white-collar jobs — have started being laid off by the corporation with workers posting firsthand accounts online.

The Monday layoffs of at least 4,000 GM white-collar American workers in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Georgia, and Texas is just the latest component of the corporation’s laying off of 14,700 workers in North America — including at least 3,300 American factory workers.

This year, GM is stopping production at four American plants, including Detroit-Hamtramck and Warren Transmission in Michigan, Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, and Baltimore Operations in Maryland. This comes after GM laid off about 1,500 American workers in Lordstown in 2018, while their Mexico production remained unaffected.

Online, American workers experiencing the layoffs are detailing what they are witnessing. A U.S. worker posted about the layoffs at GM’s corporate office in Roswell, Georgia:

Half of Team let go so far. Our team had 25-30 people. So far our 2 managers, all our senior devs, and a handful of NCGs have been let go. A few other key people in our space have been let go as well. We are pretty sure they are dropping our whole org.

One U.S. worker at GM’s Detroit, Michigan Renaissance Center wrote that about 15 employees had been fired all at once in a meeting room nearby. Another worker replied to the post, “Yes. I was one of them.”

A number of U.S. workers at GM said the corporation increased security at all facilities and offices where layoffs are occurring in order to escort those being laid off out of the area.

“Is there really a need for more security? I find that the whole increased security thing is a major overreaction on part of GM,” a U.S. worker posted. “What is it they expect us to do exactly? It just seems like adding insult to injury.”

Similarly, laid-off American workers posted their frustrations that despite their decades-long loyalty to GM, the loyalty was not returned despite the federal government and U.S. taxpayers bailing out the corporation to the sum of more than $13 billion in 2008.

“Loyalty means nothing to GM anymore,” a U.S. worker wrote. “Two decades count for nothing … Escorted out like common criminal … I was naive enough to think I was safe.”

“I was just laid off, promptly escorted off the property, I’ve spent 18 years with GM and all gone in a snap,” a U.S. worker at GM’s Grand Blanc Township, Michigan office wrote, continuing:

I was one of those that was escorted out and I asked why. No answer could be provided other than a vague: It’s a rough decision, business reasons, nothing personal. I always had great performance reviews, I knew nobody was safe but I was not expecting this.

Some people let go today had over 20 years with General Motors. It’s sad. It’s the end of the road here. I hope I bounce back quickly but I was 1000% invested in GM (professionally, emotionally and financially – this will change now).

A U.S. worker at GM’s Warren Tech Center in Warren, Michigan wrote that he was the “last man standing” of his “entire project team.”

“The entire project team I am on was walked out one at a time today,” he wrote. “Just waiting for my cardboard box. I wish my name had come up sooner so I could be enjoying a beer now.”

Another worker in Warren, Michigan wrote that he was called into a conference room two hours before posting about the layoff online. He said GM managers and human resource executives had him “sign a separation agreement” before being given his severance package.

“Whole thing only took about 20 minutes,” he wrote. “Turned in my laptop and badge and headed straight to the closest bar. Had lunch now am drinking heavily. Expect to stay here until they close. Turned off my phone. Not a good day.”

Some speculated why the layoffs were occurring at the beginning of February.

“I noticed in the paper it said GM wanted to do this before the quarterly earnings were released,” a U.S. worker posted. “I bet they had a really good quarter and it would have looked really bad for them to release all of these people which at the same time reporting big profits.”

Others slammed GM CEO Mary Barra who has continued raking in about $22 million a year despite laying off thousands of Americans and outsourcing production to China and Mexico.

“The actions from the top are SICKENING! Where is [Mary Barra] today? Come and get a front row seat for your ‘show,'” a U.S. worker wrote. “Open seating, escorting people to [conference] rooms, buses, metro cars escorting people out. Sad and sick. This MASS termination could have been prevented. [Mary Barra] needs to STEP DOWN!!! Don’t preach integrity [Mary Barra]. Don’t ask for people to work casual overtime. Same as 2008, this could have been handled in a better way.”

A U.S. worker who started at GM in 2000 in his early 20’s recalled how the corporate culture had dramatically changed and how he would miss his job after being laid off.

When I started out it was the year 2000, I was a technician and listened carefully to the engineering teams that had the experience and expertise, that is how I learned, by closing my mouth.

Also learning from the other technicians that were around my age or a bit older than me. I had a lot of respect for all of the engineering guys and the stories they had, almost all of them drag racers or one guy was a cheif engineer and broke land speed records at Bonnevilles salt flats, I was 24 at the time and I have fond memories from those days.

My experience is you really have to ignore all of the distractions going on in the company and keep your nose to the grindstone, anything else is just wasted energy. Listen to everyone of all ages, I’m a car guy and passionate about automotive, listening to the guys and the stories they had from all age groups really lit the fire for me.

I’m in my 40s now, GM is what I basically grew up with and now I’m out of a job for the first time in my life, I hate it because I’ve never not worked. Point is no one is safe no matter how good you are, we all know that there is no guarantee in life, it’s a crapshoot, I miss my work a lot and this just sucks big time. I made it through the bankruptcy in [2008] but this time not so lucky.

While GM lays off thousands of American workers, its production in Mexico and China is ramping up. Specifically, GM is looking to manufacture an electric Cadillac in China and continue manufacturing its Envision compact vehicle in China.

The made-in-Mexico Chevrolet Blazer will soon arrive in U.S. markets. Last year, GM became the largest automaker in Mexico last year as it has cut jobs in America and increased production to Mexico.

Offshoring production out of the U.S. to Mexico has proven cheaper for GM executives, as American workers earn $30 an hour while Mexican workers earn about $3 an hour, a 90 percent cut to wages that widens the corporation’s profit margins.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is now urging American consumers to boycott GM vehicles that are manufactured in Mexico, noting that such products’ Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) begin with the number “3.”

“Companies like General Motors have an obligation to build where they sell and stop exporting jobs abroad,” UAW President Gary Jones said in a statement. “After all, we invested in General Motors in their darkest days. Now they need to invest in us.”

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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