The reality of capitalism: GM makes $11.8 billion in profits while closing plants, eliminating 14,000 jobs
7 February 2019
General Motors made $11.8 billion in profits in 2018, according to a company statement released yesterday. This included $10.8 billion in North American earnings last year and a 9.5 percent profit margin in the final quarter. These giant profits were announced as GM accelerates it plans to shut five factories in the US and Canada and destroy more than 14,000 jobs.
GM’s corporate board initiated the jobs massacre two days before the release of the profit report, which showed an eight percent decline over last year’s profits. The aim is to reassure Wall Street that GM will not bow to popular outrage over the plant closings and mass layoffs.
On Monday, the first of 4,000 engineers, technicians, managers and other white-collar workers, including 1,300 workers at the GM Tech Center in the Detroit suburb of Warren, were laid off and escorted out of their work locations. The half-century old Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant is scheduled to be closed next month. The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant is to be closed on June 1, and the Oshawa, Ontario plant shut down by the fourth quarter of 2019. The company also plans to close transmission plants in Baltimore and Warren by April 1 and August 1, respectively.
In 1979, during the first Chrysler bankruptcy, the corporations and the United Auto Workers (UAW) claimed that huge wage and benefit concessions were needed to “save” the auto industry. After three decades of endless givebacks, the UAW made the same claims as it collaborated with the Obama administration to slash wages during the 2009 restructuring of GM and Chrysler.
Now, even as the auto companies are flush with cash, the corporations are demanding even…