On Monday, November 26, General Motors announced that they will not be allocating any production to their transmission and electric motor plant located at White Marsh on Philadelphia in 2019 as part of nationwide cuts which includes a 15% 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 produces 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 a job. He also cited the Eastpoint Career Center 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 Executive-Elect 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 layoff 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 at the location. 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 Maryland 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.”
This story is developing and will be updated on www.avenuenews.com.