Maryland politicians voice concerns over GM announcement
WHITE MARSH — On Nov. 26, General Motors announced that they will not be allocating any production to their transmission and electric motor plant located at White Marsh in 2019 as part of nationwide cuts that include a 15 percent reduction of its salaried staff.
This closure will leave approximately 300 employees without jobs next year. The 471,000 square foot plant was opened in December 2000 and produced transmissions and electric drive motors for several vehicles including the Chevrolet Silverado.
The large-scale changes to GM will reportedly lead to the lay-off of over 14,000 employees across the county. GM said they will shutter up to five factories as they change their business structure to focus on electric and autonomous vehicles and move away from some of its older car models.
According to GM, the White Marsh plant brought in over $33 million in state wages in 2017. In January 2010, $111 million was allocated to install processing equipment and expand the building in order to build high-volume global reardrive electric motors. In April 2010, another $23.5 million for additional production of vehicle electrification components was invested.
News of the clsoure was met with shock and criticism from Maryland’s lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D.-Md., said he was “deeply disappointed and frustrated” with the announcement and offered criticism on President Donald Trump.
“After President Trump and Congressional Republicans spent months telling us that their tax cuts for corporate billionaires would also boost jobs and wages for workers — this is what American workers get from the Trump Tax Scam? General Motors is now choosing to move factories abroad instead of choosing to invest in workers here in the United States. The executives at General Motors owe Maryland answers and I plan on getting them,” said Van Hollen.
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., echoed these sentiments.
“For seven decades, General Motors has had a substantial presence in Maryland. It received incredible incentives to bring and maintain its current operations here. The company’s decision to turn its back on the community and its workers to move operations overseas is counter to the commitments that its leaders made,” Cardin said in a statement. “This news highlights the reality that our trade and economic policies have a real, human impact. I have serious concerns that the Trump tax bill created incentives for corporations to move tangible assets offshore and provides preferential treatment to income generated overseas. President Trump’s trade policies have hurt our workers and our businesses. GM workers — American workers — deserve so much better.”
Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Mike Gill and Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Kelly M. Schulz issued a statement saying that they will also work to direct displaced GM workers to resources including unemployment claims, training opportunities, and potential job opportunities.
“Given their advanced manufacturing, robotics, and other technical skills, we are confident that those affected by the restructuring will soon find opportunities with Maryland manufacturers,” they stated.
U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, RMd.-1st, issued a statement calling GM’s decision unfortunate but noting the job market in Maryland under Gov. Larry Hogan.
“While it is unfortunate some Marylanders will lose their jobs due to this decision, I’m hopeful that the strength of Maryland’s economy under Gov. Hogan and the overall job availability right now for workers in Maryland will make it easier over the next few months for those displaced employees to find other good paying jobs locally,” Harris said.