UAW slams GM plan for depending more on imports

General MotorsThe United Auto Workers union is objecting to General Motors’ newest restructuring plan in a letter to Congress Tuesday, saying it depends upon increasing imports from other countries over U.S.-made vehicles.

The U.S. autoworkers’ union urged lawmakers to call on President Barack Obama to tie any further government assistance to GM on maintaining “the maximum number of jobs in the U.S.”

“The UAW strongly objects to GM’s restructuring plan because it essentially means that GM will be shifting more of its manufacturing footprint from the U.S. to Mexico, Korea, Japan and China and importing more of the vehicles it sells in the U.S. market from these countries,” the letter from Alan Reuther, the UAW’s legislative director, said. A copy of the letter was posted on the union’s Web site.

Reuther noted that GM’s plan ? the third by the company since December ? calls for the closing of 16 manufacturing facilities, including four assembly plants, and will result in the direct loss of 21,000 jobs.

“The ripple effect at suppliers, dealers, and other businesses will cost tens of thousands of additional jobs, devastating numerous communities across the United States,” Reuther said.

Between 2010 and 2014, GM’s plan calls for a 98 percent increase in the number of vehicles it imports into the United States from China, Japan, Mexico and South Korea, he said.

“The overall number of vehicles GM will be importing in 2014 represents the production of four assembly plants, the same number that GM plans to close in the United States,” the letter says.

GM, which lost about $70 billion over the past two years, is staying afloat on $15.4 billion in federal loans and faces a June 1 deadline to restructure its debt or else face bankruptcy.

(c) 2009, Detroit Free Press. Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.