GM’s Mary Barra Begs for Loyalty from Laid-Off U.S. Workers While Expanding in China, South Korea

While General Motors (GM) is set to expand its manufacturing in China and South Korea, CEO Mary Barra is asking that the most recently laid-off American workers stay loyal to the multinational automaker.

In an interview with Axios on HBO, Barra defended her laying off of thousands of American workers over the last few years and, most recently, the layoff of about 1,600 workers at the Lordstown, Ohio, plant that she has idled.

“As we see major shifts which is what happened and drove the transformation announcement we made last fall, we have to be prepared for the future,” Barra said. “We can’t pretend it’s not coming. If customers are moving away from sedans … then we have to take the right actions.”

In the midst of laying off Americans, with plans to close another three U.S. manufacturing plants, including the Detroit-Hamtramck and Warren Transmission plants in Michigan and the Baltimore Operations plant in Maryland, GM is expanding is set to expand in China and South Korea.

Barra, who has continued earning nearly $22 million a year, said she wants the American workers GM has laid off to remain loyal to the corporation:

Plants that we’ve unallocated because we don’t have a future product for them, we have jobs in other locations in the United States. Sometimes it’s up the road or down the highway, and some are a little bit longer move. But we want every GM employee to stay with us. In some cases, it’s a different location. [Emphasis added]

The American workers left behind after GM closed the Lordstown Assembly Plant this year have struggled whether to remain with the automaker, noting how they would have to upend their lives and families in their small, beloved community only to potentially be laid off again by GM.

It is not only the GM workers in Lordstown who have suffered from the layoffs and idling of their plant. The plant’s closure is expected to lead to the layoff of about 8,000 Americans working in supporting industries in Lordstown, wreaking economic destruction for the region in a state that has already been largely hollowed out for decades due to free trade with China and Mexico that has allowed corporations to readily outsource U.S. jobs.

Ohio, alone, has lost more than 276,000 manufacturing jobs because of U.S. free trade with China and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

By 2023, GM executives have said they will produce 20 new electric vehicles, the vast majority of which are set to be made in China. Likewise, the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is set to be made in South Korea and imported to the U.S. by 2020.

The 2020 Buick Encore GX, too, is to be made in South Korea and imported to the U.S. for American consumers.

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.

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 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.

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