Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

GM’s decision to cut jobs and close factories leaves deep economic, human scars.

Last week, GM's announcement that it will cut more than 14,000 jobs and close seven factories dominated national headlines. This move carries heavy and broad economic consequences for the regions it impacts. But we can’t forget about the human costs: suddenly without jobs, workers will have to cope with financial uncertainty that strains families and communities alike.

GM’s decision is yet another example of how some inconsiderate corporate boards take workers and the communities for granted. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) couldn’t be clearer in calling out this lack of respect:

“The workers at Lordstown are the best at what they do, and it’s clear once again that GM doesn’t respect them. Ohio taxpayers rescued GM, and it’s shameful that the company is now abandoning the Mahoning Valley and laying off workers right before the holidays. Even worse, the company reaped a massive tax break from last year’s GOP tax bill and failed to invest that money in American jobs, choosing to build its Blazer in Mexico.”

Despite taxpayer dollars rescuing GM and tax cuts helping the company further, their way to say “thanks” seems to be to pack up and go, leaving behind an economic catastrophe for impacted communities to clean up for themselves. To add insult to injury, a report shows the company didn’t even have the decency to warn employees of the closures ahead of time.

Our own Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, was also clear in pointing out GM’s flippant disregard for the communities that have contributed so much to the company:

“The layoffs are the inevitable outcome of an economic model that views workers as disposable and shareholder excitement as indispensable. These GM workers, their families and communities now face grim futures. When General Motors asked hard-working men and women to make sacrifices a decade ago, they did, and with the help of the Obama Administration, brought the company back to life. Blame won’t bring these jobs back. If the President and Congress are serious about supporting factory work, they’ll quickly find a way to avert these devastating layoffs.”

As journalist and author Amy Goldstein noted in The Washington Post, these job losses will ripple through the heart of the local economy. Without income and security, workers and families won’t be able to spend on clothes, restaurants, recreation and much more. GM isn’t only undermining workers and families, but entire regional economies.

As we stand in solidarity with the GM workers who have lost their livelihoods, we can’t forget that corporate decisions in faraway places leave deep scars in unsuspecting communities. The communities that house factories give so much to these facilities. Not only do workers in these communities deserve gratitude, we must hold companies who take them for granted accountable.