Union clings to GM plant in area where Trump promised jobs

GM Canada is proposing a renewable energy project for its engine plant in St. Catharines Ont

President Trump had a simple suggestion for General Motors, which is looking to lay off thousands of works and possibly put plants up for closure in order to focus on the production of electronic vehicles: "Make a better auto". Some of the affected factories could resume production, depending on the outcome of the company's contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union next year. GM said its slimmed down production plan would allow it to share technology across all of its vehicles and reduce the amount of time and workers it takes to build cars.

While GM is buying out and laying off workers in its core auto operations, the automaker has added close to 1,000 people in the past year at Cruise. These include workers at assembly facilities in Detroit; Warren, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario, Canada; as well as at propulsion plants in White Marsh, Maryland; and Warren, Michigan.

Shares of GM, the largest automaker in the USA which sells the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC brands, rose almost 6 percent on the news to $37.93 in midday trading Monday.

The company also said the plan would make the company more efficient, saving it $6 billion a year by the end of 2020.

GM doesn't foresee an economic downturn and is making the cuts "to get in front of it while the company is strong and while the economy is strong", CEO Mary Barra told reporters. GM, in October, said it would offer buyouts to about 18,000 salaried employees.

GM employs about 2 500 union staff in Oshawa, which produces both the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS sedans. Lordstown Local School District expects to lose 10 percent of its budget - $800,000 per year, said Superintendent Terry Armstrong. The Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid will also be dropped along with the Chevy Cruze compact (which is sold as the Holden Astra sedan here and built in Korea), which will be made in Mexico for other markets. The company said those moves, along with another at a Canada-based factory, are aimed at cutting costs.

GM will also prioritize electric vehicle development and concentrate on five models that account for three-quarters of the automaker's sales. "Our plant itself was rated as one of the most productive in North America", said Green.

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General Motors' decision to halt production in two states that were key to Donald Trump's 2016 victory could complicate the president's re-election bid.

If all the factory workers are laid off, the reductions announced Monday would be about would be about 8 percent of GM's global workforce of 180,000 employees.

Senator Rob Portman said in a press release that he asked GM to commit to bringing a new product to the plant.

The announcement comes as the Trump administration's steel tariffs have cost the automaker $1 billion. The Detroit-Hamtramck facility is GM's last in the city, and the Lordstown plant in OH was one of its biggest.

GM opened the Lordstown plant in the late 1960s in the southwest corner of Trumbull County.

Executives at PMX say they believe the impact from GM's announcement will be minimal.

The meeting had been planned prior to Monday's announcement of the job cuts, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity about a meeting that hasn't been publicly announced.

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