GM plant in White Marsh to close in 2019; of­fi­cials re­act

The Dundalk Eagle - - OPINION - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­[email protected]­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @TheAv­enueNews

On Nov. 26, Gen­eral Mo­tors (GM) an­nounced that they will not be al­lo­cat­ing any pro­duc­tion to their trans­mis­sion and elec­tric mo­tor plant lo­cated at White Marsh on Phil­a­del­phia Road in 2019 as part of na­tion­wide cuts which in­cludes 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 and the Cadil­lac.

This news was met with shock and crit­i­cism from lo­cal of­fi­cials.

“Bal­ti­more County stands with the work­ers and their fam­i­lies who are part of a decades-long GM man­u­fac­tur­ing legacy in Bal­ti­more, from ad­vanced hy­brid mo­tors in White Marsh to ve­hi­cle pro­duc­tion at Broen­ing High­way. Our work­ers are sec­ond to none,” said Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Don Mohler.

He added that the county’s work­force de­vel­op­ment team will avail­able im­me­di­ately to as­sist with job and ca­reer coun­sel­ing ser­vices to those soon to be out of the job. He also cited the East­point Ca­reer Cen­ter across from East­point Mall as a re­source to help match GM work­ers with other em­ploy­ers look­ing for their skills in ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing and con­nect them to train­ing and job search work­shops.

Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tiveElect John Ol­szewski Jr. praised Mohler’s re­sponse and said that his ad­min­is­tra­tion will work with the United Au­to­mo­bile Work­ers and Gen­eral Mo­tors in the up­com­ing months.

“Wall Street an­a­lysts may call this a good move by GM, but it’s dev­as­tat­ing news for work­ing men and women who were look­ing for­ward to the hol­i­day sea­son.”

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 rear-drive elec­tric mo­tors. In April 2010, an­other $23.5 mil­lion for ad­di­tional pro­duc­tion of ve­hi­cle elec­tri­fi­ca­tion com­po­nents was in­vested

GM had an­other man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Bal­ti­more County, lo­cated on Broen­ing High­way, which was shut down in 2005 af­ter the White Marsh fa­cil­ity opened.

Coun­cil­woman Cathy Bevins (D-6) said that GM’s plant clo­sure should be a mo­ti­va­tor to bring more jobs to the 6th district.

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 Mar yland man­u­fac­tur­ers,” they stated.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) 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. Sen­a­tor Ben Cardin (D) echoed these sen­ti­ments, say­ing “GM work­ers de­serve so much bet­ter. This news high­lights the re­al­ity that our trade and eco­nomic poli­cies have a real, hu­man im­pact. Mary­land fam­i­lies will be on the re­ceiv­ing end of this. Bal­ti­more County’s GM work­ers have been noth­ing but de­voted, hard­work­ing em­ploy­ees. I’m proud of them. And I’ll never stop fight­ing for them.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF GM

PHOTO BY TYLER MAL­LORY FOR GEN­ERAL MO­TORS

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