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GM's CEO Mary Barra will meet lawmakers next week over job cuts

GM 'has to be the most thoroughly disliked company in Washington right now,' said one lawmaker.
Image: Business, Tech And Media Luminaries Attend New York Times DealBook Conference
Mary T. Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors speaks at the New York Times DealBook conference on Nov. 1, 2018 in New York City.Stephanie Keith / Getty Images file

General Motors Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra plans to visit Capitol Hill next week to discuss its plans to halt production at five plants in North America next year and cut up to 15,000 jobs, two congressional aides said on Friday.

GM has come under harsh criticism from lawmakers from both major political parties, and from President Donald Trump, since Monday when the No. 1 U.S. automaker announced the biggest restructuring since its bankruptcy a decade ago.

Barra is expected to meet with lawmakers from Michigan and Ohio, where GM plans to shutter three plants, as well as senior leaders in Congress. GM did not immediately comment.

Representative Debbie Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, told CNN earlier this week that GM had done what others could not — unite both parties in their anger. She added that GM "has to be the most thoroughly disliked company in Washington right now." She also criticized GM's handling of the layoffs.

GM said this week that many workers at plants that are ending production will be able to transfer to open jobs at other plants.

Barra has been calling lawmakers this week to explain the decision to end production. Trump has threatened to revoke subsidies for GM for electric vehicles.

Barra also will speak at a forum next week at Harvard University in Massachusetts for new members of Congress.

GM plans to halt production next year at three assembly plants: the Lordstown small-car factory near Youngstown, Ohio; the Detroit-Hamtramck complex in Detroit; and the Oshawa, Ontario, assembly complex near Toronto. It will also stop building several models now assembled at those plants, including the Chevrolet Cruze, the Chevrolet Volt hybrid, the Cadillac CT6 and the Buick LaCrosse.

Additionally, GM plans to shutter the Warren transmission plant outside Detroit and a plant that makes electric motors and drivetrains outside Baltimore, Maryland.

GM could opt to add additional new products to those plants at a later date after it holds contract talks next summer with the United Auto Workers union.

Cost pressures on GM and other automakers and suppliers have increased as demand has waned for traditional sedans. The company has said tariffs on imported steel, imposed earlier this year by the Trump administration, have cost it $1 billion.