It was only last week that General Motors announced the closure of five car factories across the United States and Canada. More importantly, this announcement means that roughly 14,000 people would be losing their jobs, and at a time when the company had received a bailout to save operations. At the time of the announcement, GM had said it would offer jobs to factory jobs, but at other facilities where production is increasing.
At the end of this week, then, GM finally offered an update on this progress.
Of course, this is a bit of an oversimplification. For one, of the 14,000 jobs GM aims to cut, about 2,800 are hourly employees. Generally speaking, these are assembly line workers who punch in and out every day (as opposed to managers and supervisors who are paid a salary). On Friday, GM said that 1,100 of these hourly workers volunteered to transfer to other factories, which include GM’s truck and heavy-duty pickup plant in Flint, Michigan and the transmission plant in Toledo, Ohio. Of the cut group, too, another 1,200 are eligible for retirement, according to the company.
It might be important to understand that GM is shutting down plants in Ohio, Maryland, and Michigan because of these plants, for the most part, manufacture sedans. Apparently, consumers are falling out of favor with this body style of vehicle, shifting more towards to trucks and SUVs.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra goes on to explain that this process has two focuses. First of all, shutting down these plants helps the company to save money. Secondly—and perhaps more importantly—this move should help the company to reposition itself to make more fruitful investments in the future towards autonomous driving technology and electric-powered vehicles.
In a statement, Barra comments, “Strong US and Canadian economies enable us to provide these opportunities now as we position General Motors for long-term success. Our focus remains on providing interested employees options to transition, including job opportunities at other GM plants. We remain committed to working with local government officials, our unions, and each individual to find appropriate opportunities for them.”