Mary­land politi­cians voice con­cerns over GM an­nounce­ment

Kent County News - - NEWS - By GIANNA DECARLO gde­[email protected]­

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.

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