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article imageGeneral Motors to close plants in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario

By Karen Graham     Nov 26, 2018 in Business
As part of its global restructuring program, General Motors will cut car production, stop building several slow-selling models, and slash its North American workforce by 6,300 people.
Plants to be shuttered next year include Detroit-Hamtramck and Warren Transmission in Detroit, the Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, the Oshawa Assembly in Ontario, Canada and Baltimore Operations in Maryland.
General Motors says the restructuring plan will save $6 billion by 2020. The company will cease production of several models being assembled at those plants, including the Chevrolet Cruze, the Cadillac CT6 and the Buick LaCrosse. GM will be shifting more investment to electric and autonomous vehicles, according to Reuters.
The plant closures will affect some 6,300 workers, including 3,300 in the U.S. The company says employees will be given the opportunity to transfer to GM's growth plants. The plants being shuttered are considered "unallocated," which means that at this time these plants don't have a product, reports Detroit News.
Automaker assembly line
An employee works on an assembly line inside a plant.
Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company
Oshawa is the only plant building the Cadillac XTS sedan. Detroit-Hamtramck and Oshawa are the only plants building the Chevy Impala. Detroit-Hamtramck is the only Cadillac CT6, Chevy Volt or Buick LaCrosse producer as well. Lordstown only makes the Chevy Cruze sedan. The hatchback model is made in Mexico.
Buyout program failed
GM offered buyouts to about 18,000 white-collar workers in North America last month. The offer was focused on salaried workers with 12 or more years of service. However, the buyout failed to meet the company's cost-savings estimates, so GM is initiating layoffs.
The buyouts and layoffs will ultimately affect about 8,000 employees, although GM has not said how many workers took the buyout offer.
"Taking these actions now while economy and industry are strong," CEO Mary Barra told reporters after the announcement Monday. Barra said GM is focused on adapting to a "fast-changing industry with fast-changing market conditions."
"We hope you see the management team is committed to acting with a sense of urgency," she said.
Automaker assembly line
An employee works on Ford's assembly line inside a plant.
Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company
Canada informed late Sunday
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford were informed of the decision late Sunday, ahead of the official announcement on Monday.
A federal official told the Globe and Mail the government will be examining the impact of the closing and the options available to help laid-off workers at the Oshawa plant, which will be completely closed down
Unifor, a general trade union in Canada and the largest private sector union in Canada, said in a statement that GM has told it the plant is slated to be idle in a year.
“There is no product allocated to the Oshawa Assembly Plant past December 2019,” the union said, adding it believes the move violates a previous undertaking made by GM.
Unifor is calling on GM to live up to agreement and allocate product to the Oshawa plant for Dec 2019, based on commitments made during 2016 contract negotiations with the union. Unifor will be holding a news conference this afternoon.
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