“Today’s action by General Motors is not only extremely disappointing, unfair and unfortunate, it is devastating to many thousands of workers, their families and communities,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Richard Shoemaker said in a joint statement.
“Workers have no control over GM’s capital investment, product development, design, marketing and advertising decisions. But, unfortunately, it is workers, their families and our communities that are being forced to suffer because of the failures of others.”
Wagoner said he believed that a new line of large SUVs due early in 2006 should give a lift to those sagging sales, and that some of its large SUV capacity is being changed to produce either SUVs or pickups, depending upon demand. He said GM needs to keep capacity for the vehicles that it can sell at the greatest profit — namely the larger vehicles.
Among the vehicles made at the assembly plants being closed are the Chevrolet Impala and its twins, the Saturn Ion, its minivans, the SSR sport pickup and some mid-sized SUVs. The company will have a North American capacity of about 4.2 million vehicles a year at its own plants, down from about 5 million.
“Oklahoma City, (which makes the mid-sized SUV) is a very good plant but a classic example of … just having too much capacity in that segment,” said Wagoner. “That’s why that plant in on the list today. We don’t have any plants left that aren’t very high quality and quite productive. I’m sure I’m not going to satisfy any plant as why they’ve been chosen to be on the list.”
You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t have much sympathy for GM right now, but since their CEO is raking in an annual pay and benefits package of $11 Million while the hourly workers are getting the shaft, I say the General Motors Corporation is about as low as it gets.
Personally I think the UAW needs to get off its butt and take some action with a real strike. Every GM worker nationwide should be walking off the assembly lines right now and refuse to let scabs into the plants, while at the same time consumers would straight up refuse to buy GM products. If this happened on a mass scale, I think GM would have to back down, but unfortunately I don’t think this is going to happen. Because folks aren’t willing to stick together (and I don’t just mean autoworkers, but in other professions too), the Man is able to screw the workers.
On top of that though, what boggles my mind is that our politicians always assume that the answer to saving jobs is to give the corporations more tax breaks and other perks (instead of showing some leadership and attacking the corporations… i.e. why doesn’t Governor Henry call for all Oklahomans to boycott GM products?) Here’s a story that gives a bit of a window into this mindset…
The governor said GM told him there are no state or local incentives that would change their mind and keep the plant open.