General Motors is poised to close factories in Michigan, Ohio, and Maryland, killing off several passenger cars and slash 15 percent of its salaried workforce in a sweeping cost-cutting plan designed to boost its profits.
The Detroit-based automaker said it would end production by the end of 2019 at its Lordstown Assembly plant in northeast Ohio; its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Michigan; its Oshawa Assembly plant in Ontario; its Baltimore Operations parts plant; and its Warren Transmission Operations plant in Michigan.
Assembly plants are job juggernauts. GM has about 1,500 employees at the Detroit plant, 1,600 at the Lordstown factory and 2,500 in Oshawa.
The announcement comes ahead of next year's contract talks with the United Auto Workers Union, which could lead to decisions on devoted vehicles to those facilities.
GM's biggest employee union, the United Auto Workers, vowed to fight the plan.
But there is a serious chance that the plants close for good.
More: GM offers buyouts to 18,000 salaried workers, says layoffs possible
The company will also discontinue the Chevrolet Cruze, Volt and Impala cars in North America as Americans flock to larger vehicles in the form of crossovers, SUVs and pickups.
CEO Mary Barra is seeking to reposition GM for a future defined by self-driving cars, ride-sharing networks and electric vehicles.
The cuts will make GM "lean and agile" as the company aims to lead in autonomous and lead in electric vehicles, "Barra said.
Taken together, the moves will deliver more than $ 6 billion in additional annual cash flows by the end of 2020, GM said. That includes $ 4 billion in cost cuts and $ 1.5 billion in reduced capital expenditures.
The UAW said it would "confront this decision by GM through every legal, contractual and collective bargaining avenue open to our membership."
It's a "callous decision" to cut American operations about 10 years after the automaker first accepted federal bailout money, UAW GM official Terry Dittes said in a statement.
"GM's production decisions, in light of employee concessions during the economic downturn and a taxpayer bailout from bankruptcy, puts profits before the working families of this country where personal sacrifices stood with GM during those dark days," Dittes said. "These decisions are a slap in the face of the memory and recall that American bailout. "
GM said it would also be close to other plants outside of North America by the end of 2019. It will also continue with plans to close its plant in Gunsan, South Korea.
The workforce reduction will affect 15 percent of the company's salaried and salaried contract workforce. It is not clear how many of these cuts will be voluntary and how many will take the form of layoffs. GM offered buyouts to 18,000 workers several weeks ago.
The company said it would also have 25 percent fewer executives.
Contributing: Detroit Free Press reporter Jamie Lareau
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
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