Senators, union press General Motors CEO on plant closings, job cuts

General Motors

General Motors CEO Mary Barra, facing increasing criticism, will meet with Ohio’s two U.S. senators on Wednesday regarding the automaker’s strategies to idle five North American plants and slash up to 15,000 jobs.

Senator Rob Portman, a Republican, and Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, stated in a joint statement they are going to “press” the automaker to save the Lordstown, Ohio, plant located in the northeast part of the state.

The announcement came as the United Auto Workers union on Monday sent a letter to the automaker officially protesting to the decision to finish production in 2019 at four U.S. plants, stating it breaches commitments made during contract talks in 2015. The decision to shut down an assembly plant in Ohio has come under criticism from President Donald Trump and others.

In the letter viewed by Reuters, the UAW asked the automaker to rescind the decision and resolve the fate of the plants during negotiations in 2019. Calling the plants “unallocated” does not relieve automaker “of its obligation to comply” with a moratorium on plant closings, the UAW letter stated. “We will use all of our resources to enforce our agreements,” the letter noted.

GM did not comment right away.

Since early last year, GM has cut two of the three production shifts at the Ohio plant that constructs the Chevrolet Cruze car, cutting 3,000 jobs. GM has stated it is shutting down the plants due to sagging demand for automobiles.

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