Am I Next? Mass layoffs (14,000) and plant closings at General Motors.


Layoffs are beginning at the Warren, Michigan transmission plant. Also affected are vendors and those who support the community.

According to a company spokesperson, “The 6-speed transmission was a good product and was built with tremendous pride by the Warren team. We know this is an emotional time for our Warren Transmission team members. We appreciate their commitment and hard work to build the highest quality possible into each and every transmission produced at Warren Transmission Operations. Our focus remains on the employees and the impacted communities. We have job opportunities for every hourly employee at the impacted plants. These are highly-skilled employees, and we want them to stay with the company. We have now placed more than 1,700 employees (out of 2,800) from our unallocated plants to other GM locations. Our goal is to build a strong future for our employees and our business.”

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The handwriting is on the wall and the Sirens are singling their deadly song.

In a press release, General Motors has confirmed that it intends to “accelerate its transformation for the future, building on the comprehensive strategy it laid out in 2015 to strengthen its core business, capitalize on the future of personal mobility and drive significant cost efficiencies.”

More specifically, the automaker is planning to reduce its salaried workforce by 15%, representing approximately 14,000 employees as well as closing, “unallocating” in corporate-speak, or reducing production at several plants. Plants targeted in North America include the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly operation in Detroit, Michigan; the Lordstown Assembly operation in Warren, Ohio; the Oshawa Assembly operation in Oshawa, Ontario (Canada); the Baltimore propulsion operations in White Marsh, Maryland; the Warren Transmission operation in Warren, Michigan; and other foreign operations.

General Motors declines to indicate that the facilities will be permanently closed due to ongoing negotiations with its primary labor union, the United Auto Workers.

Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO of General Motors noted, “The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future. We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success. The company is transforming its global workforce to ensure it has the right skill sets for today and the future, while driving efficiencies through the utilization of best-in-class tools. Actions are being taken to reduce salaried and salaried contract staff by 15 percent, which includes 25 percent fewer executives to streamline decision making. These actions will increase the long-term profit and cash generation potential of the company and improve resilience through the cycle.”

The company suggests that these actions will continue “to take proactive steps to improve overall business performance including the reorganization of its global product development staffs, the realignment of its manufacturing capacity and a reduction of salaried workforce. These actions are expected to increase annual adjusted automotive free cash flow by $6 billion by year-end 2020 on a run-rate basis.”

Change is coming. There will always be a tomorrow, no matter how much you may try to ignore it. There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No one is guaranteed to wake up tomorrow and still have a job by evening. Are you now wondering, Am I Next?