GM CEO Plans Meeting With Lawmakers on Plant Cutbacks, Sources Say

Ryan Beene

(Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co.’s chief executive next week will face lawmakers who erupted in anger at the company’s plan to shed thousands of jobs and cancel production at four U.S. plants, according to congressional aides.

Among the lawmakers planning to meet with GM’s Mary Barra are Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Gary Peters of Michigan, according to the aides who asked not to be identified. Another congressional staffer said Barra planned to meet with representatives states affected by the company’s planned cutbacks, which were announced Monday.

A GM spokeswoman declined to comment on Barra’s schedule.

GM’s announcement that it would cancel production at plants in Michigan and Ohio, key swing states that helped carry President Donald Trump to victory in 2016, were widely panned by lawmakers from both major parties this week. GM took heat for announcing the deep cuts -- totaling as many as 15,000 blue collar and salaried jobs across four U.S. plants and one in Canada -- just a few weeks before the December holidays, and after posting unexpectedly strong third-quarter earnings.

Brown blasted GM’s plans as “corporate greed at its worst,” criticizing the company’s move in part because it came after the company won a major tax break from the GOP’s corporate tax cuts approved by Congress last December.

Ohio’s Republican Senator Rob Portman, who helped push the tax cuts through last year, said earlier this week that he was “deeply frustrated” with GM’s decision.

Michigan’s Peters will reiterate “his disappointment and the concerns that he raised when he personally spoke with Barra on Monday after the announcement was made” in the upcoming meeting with Barra, according to a spokesperson from his office.

The plants in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, Canada, where production will end next year assembled slow-selling passenger cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze compact, Volt plug-in hybrid and Impala sedans. The plants were already operating below full-capacity, hampered by sluggish demand for passenger cars that has caused traditional sedan sales to plummet industry-wide.

GM billed the restructuring as a necessary move for GM to keep pace in a broad industry shift to electric and self-driving vehicles, one expected to yield some $6 billion in cash savings.

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