When General Motors closes one of its manufacturing plants, it usually also closes down the town where it was located. The reason large companies move jobs to other countries is that the foreign currency, and therefore the cost of living are so much lower. There is no consideration for the U.S. workers, no loyalty to them — it is all about the bottom line. Now, GM is closing even more plants.
The Mexican peso was worth about 12 to one, compared to the U.S. dollar, 20 years ago. Now that rate is 20.58 per U.S. dollar, meaning the companies do even better when they send their jobs to Mexico than they did two decades ago, at a time when $10 bought a steak so big it fell off of a dinner plate, side orders, appetizers, drinks, and dessert. It was even better for the plants in China.
Now, GM has announced that it will close five factories in North America and one in Oshawa, Ontario (Canada) next year. The Canadian plant alone will lose 3,000 jobs. GM will also kill off 11,000 other good American jobs. Then, the surrounding communities will see a ripple-effect and die a slower death, leading to 21st century ghost towns.
Workers said that they would walk off the job, but that would simply be a hiccup in production. In the end, the lure of the dollar outweighs any worker action.
The United Auto Workers Union was once exceedingly powerful. It negotiated decent and safe jobs and wages for the automobile industry workers, jobs that provided a decent income. When, the automotive industry, including parts such as batteries, started moving to Mexico and China 20 years ago, the union lost its negotiating power.
GM said that it will close its factories, because what they manufacture has gone out of style with the American buyer.Ford Motor was also guilty of similar moves. Funny thing though, when there are no jobs, there are no buyers.
Any of the automobile manufacturers could retrofit their plants to produce popular vehicles. They could build new plants, if that was a cheaper alternative. No, what they are doing is squeezing a few more dollars out of an already struggling middle class in the states and handing the money over to the all-present stock market.
GM chief executive Mary Barra, spoke on a conference call, spouting the company’s PR message, according to The New York Times:
‘We are taking this action now while the company and the economy are strong to keep ahead of changing market conditions.’
The dying plants are in Lordstown, Ohio, Detroit, and Oshawa, Ontario. The GM Canada headquarters is located in Oshawa. At one time, that plant employed 40,000 workers, but that number dropped to a mere few thousand.
GM had been providing severance packages to lure its salaried North American (including both U.S. and Canadian) workers to leave, but that stopped in November. These closures mean that 15 percent of all the company’s blue-collar workers will be history.
Of course, the investors were happy with the news. It shot the GM shares up over seven percent, which was its highest since the middle of July.
Expect two more GM plants outside of North America to close by the end of 2019. The government could halt the continual drain of the middle class, but not while Republicans are in the Senate and White House. Republicans’ interests lie with big business, whereas, Democrats support the individuals.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.