By Agence France-Presse
A union leader is urging President Donald Trump to take action to get General Motors to protect jobs at an Ohio plant rather than shipping them to Mexico, according to a letter obtained by AFP on Wednesday.
Trump, who has frequently chastised companies publicly for off-shoring, raising prices or other perceived transgressions, has not yet responded to the letter from a leader of the United Auto Workers union in Ohio.
David Green, the newly elected president of UAW Local 1112, said GM is scaling back its Lordstown Complex which builds the Chevy Cruze, laying off two-thirds of the workforce.
“You campaigned on the promise to keep Americans working, yet on June 22, 2018, GM announced they would build the new Chevrolet Blazer in Mexico,” Green said in the July 6 letter. “Ironically this was also the very last day our second shift, another 1,200 workers were laid off.”
He said the cutbacks have happened despite the fact the company received “huge tax breaks” from the tax cuts last year.
“The fact that many of our workers here in Ohio voted for you and for you to remain silent on this issue is disturbing,” he said, calling on Trump to ask GM “to reinvest their tax savings in the Lordstown Complex.”
GM said in late June that the decision to produce the revived Blazer, a midsized SUV, in Mexico was made several years ago but the company remained committed to “investing and growing jobs in the US.”
The Mexican-made vehicles will be exported to the US market where demand has surged in recent years with lower gasoline prices and GM said it would be available in early 2019.
GM spokeswoman Dayna Hart declined Wednesday to comment specifically on the letter but said when the company decided to produce the Blazer in Mexico, the Lordstown plant was working with three shifts, so using it for the new model was not an option at the time.
“The shift from cars to SUVs and crossovers occurred just in the last few years after the decision was made on where to build the Blazer,” she said in an email.