President Donald Trump says his administration and lawmakers are exerting "a lot of pressure" on General Motors in response to its decision to cut up to tens of thousands of workers in North America and possibly shutter up to five plants.
While GM, and other auto companies, have spoken out against rising production costs caused by the Trump administration's protectionist tariffs, a spokeswoman for the company told TheBlaze that the layoffs and plant closures "are being made as part of our ongoing transformation and are not related to recent trade or tariff decisions".
Tommy Wolikow, a Lordstown resident who said he was laid off from the plant on the day Trump was inaugurated past year, has been attending his rallies with the Good Jobs Nation coalition to bring attention to the plight of workers.
Last month, as GM reported a US$2.5-billion third-quarter profit, the automaker also said it was aiming to cut costs by offering buyouts to roughly 18,000 white-collar workers with 12 or more years of service.
Many industry experts point to a stagnation in the gas-powered market as more drivers shift to autonomous and electric vehicles.
While industry-wide passenger auto sales were down 13.2 percent through the first nine months of the year, pickup truck and SUV sales rose 8.3 percent.
Senator Rob Portman said in a press release that he asked GM to commit to bringing a new product to the plant. Two as-yet unspecified sites outside of North America are also facing the end of the line.
As recently as 2012, passenger cars made up more than 50 percent of all U.S. new vehicle sales.
"Today our generation is facing a new Black Monday in the Mahoning Valley", Congressman Ryan said, "GM's announcement is devastating for the men and women working at Lordstown and everyone here in the Mahoning Valley".
Barra said that the goal was to make the company more efficient.
Sedans have gone from more than half of USA sales as recently as 2012 to just about 30 per cent of the market this year.
"He believes - as, frankly the prime minister of Canada, Trudeau, believes - that the USMCA deal was a great help to the automobile industry and to autoworkers", Kudlow told a White House briefing.
"The U.S. got hit harder than we did", said one Canadian government insider. "I am here to protect America's Workers!" he wrote.
Messages left with representatives for GM were not immediately returned.
Workers at the Ontario plant walked off the job Monday but were expected to return Tuesday.
She said GM is still hiring people with expertise in software and electric and autonomous vehicles.
With US vehicle sales lagging, several auto plants have fallen to just one shift, including its Hamtramck and Lordstown, assembly plant.
Numerous workers who will lose jobs if the plants close could transfer to another GM factory where production is being increased, spokesman Patrick Morrissey said. The Volt has a small battery that can take it about 50 miles, then it switches to a small gasoline engine.