On Senate Floor, Brown Calls on GM to Invest in Ohio Workers

As GM Cuts Lordstown to One Shift, Ships Blazer Production to Mexico, Brown Calls on GM to Keep American Jobs

Download production-quality video of Senator Brown’s remarks HERE.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) took to the Senate floor this evening to call on GM to invest in Ohio workers. On Friday, GM announced plans to build the new Chevrolet Blazer in Mexico on the exact same day the second shift ended at the Lordstown facility. Tonight, Brown blasted the decision by GM, calling on the company to reverse its decision.

“After Ohio gave millions to this company, GM is turning its back on Ohio – all while making record profits and reaping the rewards of the tax bill,” said Brown. “GM needs to invest in America and in Ohio. They need to invest in the workers and the communities that built this company and made it great. We’ve invested in GM. It’s time for GM to invest in Ohio workers.”

Brown has demanded answers from GM, arguing that Ohioans deserve answers as to why the Lordstown plant is cutting jobs despite having more cash on hand following the GOP tax cuts. Brown said GM cannot pocket billions of dollars in tax cuts and turn around and fire Ohio workers whose livelihoods depend on these jobs.

After the GOP tax overhaul, GM is able to bring their $6.9 billion in overseas cash back to the U.S. at less than half of the tax rate the corporation would formerly have paid and immediately deduct the cost of any new investments in plant and equipment. Despite these tax cuts and the company’s record revenues as reported in their 2016 SEC filing, GM is still moving forward with the Lordstown layoffs.

 

Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be found below.

Last Friday was a dark day for the American auto industry and American workers.

On the very same day GM laid off the entire second shift at the historic Lordstown plant in the Mahoning Valley, we got word that GM plans to build its new Chevy Blazer in Mexico – that’s right, the company is bypassing American workers and sending more jobs to Mexico.

All this comes on the heels of the windfall GM got from the tax bill Congress passed last year. GM can now bring nearly $7 billion in overseas cash back to the U.S. at a dramatically lower tax rate, and they can immediately deduct the cost of any new investments in plants and equipment.

They could be using that extra cash to invest in Lordstown and build more cars in America. But what are they doing?

They’re laying off 1,500 Ohio workers. Think about that: 1,500 workers. 1,500 families affected.

And that’s just a year after they laid off the third shift – more than 1,000 workers – at the same plant.

They’ve got some nerve.

The workers at this plant are among the best in the world. The car they make – the Chevy Cruze – beat out the foreign competition in its class last year.

For the 2018 models, J.D. Power and Associates named the Cruze among the top two cars in its class, and they named the Lordstown plant among the top 6 plants in the Americas.

Anyone who’s been to Lordstown wouldn’t be surprised.

Ten years ago, I stood on this floor as we voted to save the American auto industry.

Two years later, I stood in Lordstown and watched the first Chevy Cruzes roll off the assembly line. I even drove one of the cars.

Two years ago, I stood in Lordstown for the plant’s 50th anniversary. I saw the pride the community takes in that plant.

GM itself estimated more than 10,000 people – young and old, families with their children, vintage car buffs, former workers – turned out to watch the parade and celebrate the plant.

The line to get into the plant for a tour stretched down the street and around the block.

That is what this plant and the auto industry mean to the communities they serve.

That’s why we worked so hard to save this industry, including GM, after the economic crisis. In addition to the federal auto rescue, the state of Ohio gave GM more than $80 million in tax incentives for the Cruze plant.

But now, after Ohio gave millions to this company, GM is turning its back on Ohio – all while making record profits and reaping the rewards of the tax bill.

As a country, as a state, we are invested in this industry – GM needs to invest in America and in Ohio. They need to invest in the workers and the communities that built this company and made it great.

Instead of making plans to invest in Mexico, GM should be working with us to invest in American workers.

We’ve invested in GM. It’s time for GM to invest in Ohio workers.

 

 

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