President Trump blasts General Motors CEO Mary Barra over plant closure in Maryland, other states

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to express disappointment in General Motors for “closing plants” in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland while sparing facilities in Mexico and Canada.

The Detroit automaker — which U.S. taxpayers saved from collapsing with a $51 billion bailout a decade ago — announced Monday that it was ceasing production at five North American plants, including a facility in White Marsh that employs nearly 300 people.

“Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including… for electric cars. General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) - don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!”

Workers at the White Marsh facility were told the plant will not receive any new work after April.

The company’s decision surprised and angered Maryland’s federal, state and local officials, who said General Motors gave them no advance warning about the decision.

Like Trump, Sen. Chris Van Hollen said in a statement that he was “deeply disappointed and frustrated” with the company.

But Van Hollen blamed Trump and his tax-cut policies.

On Twitter, Van Hollen wrote: “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?”

And on Facebook, the Maryland Democrat wrote: “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.”

GM opened the White Marsh plant in December 2000. Its operations are made up of two facilities: a 471,000-square-foot transmission factory and a 110,500-square-foot addition that has made electric motors. The latter operation was built in 2012 at a cost of more than $245 million, which was subsidized by $105 million in U.S. Department of Energy grants, $6 million in grants from Baltimore County and $4.5 million in state grants for economic development.

In 2017, the plant accounted for more than $33.1 million in wages and paid about $7.3 million in income tax, according to GM’s website. The facility employs 253 hourly employees, many of whom are represented by the United Auto Workers Local 239, and 57 salaried workers.

ddonovan@baltsun.com

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