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UAW Says New Trade Deal Won’t Stop GM Seeking Cheap Labor in Mexico

December 7, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

DETROIT, Mich.—The United Auto Workers says General Motors’ plans to close five plants in the U.S. and Canada might be part of a strategy to take advantage of cheaper labor in Mexico—and the proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t going to stop that. “We were hopeful that this new agreement would rein in the corporate greed that has bled manufacturing in the United States,” UAW President Gary Jones said in a statement Nov. 30. “Unfortunately, as GM’s idling of plants in Ohio, Michigan, and Maryland this week showed—the ‘New’ NAFTA, as it stands now, is not strong enough to protect American workers.” The closing of three assembly plants and two transmission factories announced last month is expected to eliminate more than 6,000 jobs, most in Oshawa, Ontario, and Lordstown, Ohio. “Look at the crossovers in Mexico. If GM brought these products back we wouldn’t have these type of issues,’’ Mike Herron, GM unit chairman at UAW Local 1853 in Spring Hill, Tennessee, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Last year, according to data from the Japanese market researcher MarkLine, GM produced about 800,000 vehicles in Mexico, while its U.S. plants assembled 2 million vehicles. Read more

December 7, 2018

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