Michigan Lawmakers Blast Barra on GM Plant Closures

December 07, 2018 at 2:02 AM

Congressional Democrats from Michigan ranted to CEO Mary Barra on Thursday about General Motors Co.’s plan to close its giant assembly plant in Detroit next year.

The complaints were similar to those voiced on Wednesday by lawmakers from Ohio, where GM intends to shutter the state’s GM plant in Lordstown: Why isn’t the company moving production from Mexico to the U.S. to sustain employment levels in its home market?

Barra offered some explanations,. But Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) tells reporters that GM should revisit its decision-making process and grasp the importance of building vehicles in the U.S., Reuters reports.

GM operates four assembly plants in Mexico, where hourly workers are paid less than $3 per hour compared with about $17 for their counterparts in the U.S. “It’s been very profitable to leave the U.S. and go to Mexico,” observes Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.)

Barra says she is open to options about new-car program assignments. But she notes that shifting high-volume models from one plant to another is very costly and takes time to implement.

She also reasserts that GM has been forced to make “necessary but incredibly difficult changes” to its plant capacity profile by profound market shifts and the high cost of critical investments in electrification, connectivity, autonomous cars and transportation alternatives such as ride-hailing services.