Cleveland, Ohio – While communities in Ohio, Michigan, and Maryland continue to fight to keep General Motors plants open, company officials say they have jobs available for workers willing to move to new areas.
When it announced the closures last month, GM said it had about 3,300 hourly workers in the U.S. and about 2,600 in Canada at plants that it would close next year. All of those plants produce cars that have not been selling well as consumers have opted instead for crossovers and sport utility vehicles.
Following retirements and normal attrition, the automaker says it now has 2,800 employees at U.S. plants set to close. Of those, 1,200 qualify for retirement, and 1,100 have applied for transfers to other plants. That’s where it had good news – plants producing crossovers, SUVs, and parts for those vehicles will need 2,700 new people in the coming year.
“Strong U.S. and Canadian economies enable us to provide these opportunities now as we position General Motors for long-term success,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Our focus remains on providing interested employees options to transition including job opportunities at other GM plants.”
Facilities adding jobs in 2019 are:
- Bedford Casting Operations (transmissions, components); Bedford, Indiana
- Bowling Green Assembly (Corvette plant); Bowling Green, Kentucky
- Flint Assembly (pickups); Flint, Michigan
- Lansing Grand River Assembly (Cadillac vehicles); Lansing, Michigan
- Toledo Transmission Operations; Toledo, Ohio
- Spring Hill Manufacturing (crossovers); Spring Hill, Tennessee
- Arlington Assembly (large SUVs); Arlington, Texas
Skilled tradesmen positions are available at GM plants throughout the country.
The largest number of manufacturing job cuts from GM’s restructuring are in Canada, where 2,600 people worked on assembly lines for the Chevy Impala. GM officials did not have specific plant assignments for those workers, instead saying GM Canada is working with its dealers, local colleges, and other employers to train and help secure jobs for impacted workers from the Oshawa Assembly Plant.
Since its announcement last month, GM has drawn sharp criticism from politicians, including President Donald Trump, who have complained that the company has added new products to plants in Mexico and Asia while cutting production in the U.S. and Canada.
GM officials have responded by saying the automaker has invested heavily in North American production as evidenced by the jobs available in Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.
Those job openings may help individual workers, but they will do little to lessen the impact on communities that have come to depend on automotive employment. So, efforts by politicians to lobby for more jobs will likely continue into next year.
In addition, GM and the United Auto Workers union will enter talks next year for a new four-year labor contract, and the union has vowed to do what it can to keep plants open.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 18 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.