General Motors (GM) executives announced this week that two of their vehicles will be produced in South Korea as American workers in Lordstown, Ohio are left jobless after their GM plant closure and other Americans’ jobs at the corporation hang in the balance.
At the end of last year, GM CEO Mary Barra announced that the corporation would soon lay off 14,700 workers in the United States and Canada. Meanwhile, the corporation’s production in China and Mexico have remained unaffected, much like Barra’s continued annual salary of $22 million.
While the Lordstown, Ohio Assembly Plant has already been idled by GM, also slated to close this year are GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck and Warren Transmission plants in Michigan and the Baltimore Operations plant in Maryland.
Closing the Lordstown plant resulted in the immediate layoff of about 1,600 American workers, and since 2017, GM has laid off about 4,500 American workers in Ohio. The GM plant closure is also expected to leave more than 8,000 American workers jobless in Lordstown and the surrounding area, as well as cut out about $8 billion in economic activity in the area. Already, more than 900 workers in supporting industries have been put out of work.
GM Ohio Plant Closure Disrupts Small-Town America: ‘They’re Scraping Out What’s Already Been Hollowed Out’https://t.co/YLl0YmUhb6
— John Binder 👽 (@JxhnBinder) May 6, 2019
Though thousands of American workers have been left jobless and others’ careers with the corporation are set to come to a close, GM has its sights set on producing and manufacturing new vehicles in South Korea.
The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer, for example, is set to be made in South Korea. GM executives expect the South Korean-made vehicle to be imported to U.S. showrooms by 2020.
Likewise, GM plans to manufacture its 2020 Buick Encore GX in South Korea, importing the vehicle to the U.S. for American consumers. Currently, GM imports its Buick Encore to the U.S. from South Korea as well.
Barra’s decision to increase production in South Korea while laying off American workers and plans to shut down a total of four U.S. manufacturing plants speaks to the corporation’s willingness to outsource and offshore jobs to cut labor costs.
Back in Lordstown, local United Auto Workers (UAW) president David Green told the Detroit Free Press American workers who have been left behind since GM’s plant closure are struggling to grapple with the situation and the future of their livelihood in the community.
“There’s a lot of stress right now and struggling to comprehend the vagueness of our situation,” Green said. He said workers in the area want to know whether or not another company will reopening the the manufacturing plant.
This month, GM said it was looking to sell the Lordstown plant to the electric vehicle company Workhorse Group Inc. Those plans, though, remain tentative.
Experts have called on Trump to implement a 25 percent auto tariff to protect American auto worker jobs and the U.S. auto industry from Chinese domination. Likewise, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), vying for the Democrat nomination for president, has told Trump to immediately ban GM from receiving federal contracts due to their outsourcing, offshoring, and mass layoff scheme.
GM is also 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, as it has cut jobs in America and increased production in Mexico.
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), have eliminated nearly five million manufacturing jobs from the American economy and resulted in the closure of about 50,000 manufacturing plants.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.