GM CEO Mary Barra grilled by DC lawmakers over decision to close plants, cut jobs

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter, Kayla Clarke

WASHINGTON - It's day two of General Motors CEO Mary Barra's charm offensive in Washington, and so far, there's no change in the company's sweeping plan.

Barra made her case for putting two plants in Metro Detroit on ice as well as others in Ohio, Canada and Maryland. She's also cutting more than 14,000 workers. White collar positions make up 1,800 of those 14,000 cuts.

"The industry is transforming and it's important for General Motors to make necessary but incredibly difficult changes to make sure that we can be in a leadership position so General Motors is strong to provide jobs, to provide manufacturing and to provide leadership in the transportation industry as we move forward," Barra said.

The news of the layoffs and shutdowns was not well received in Washington where just a few short years ago, the government bailed GM out as well as Chrysler. The final price tag of that bailout reaches nearly $80 billion and there are no short memories about that in Washington.

"When things were very, very tough, our U.S. government stepped in with kinds of capital and loans to be able to keep this company as well as Chrysler going forward so I think there is a special responsibility that as jobs are created they are created in the United States and in Michigan," Sen. Debbie Stabenow D-Michigan said.

Barra is not backing down on her cost-cutting plans, which the UAW may be furious about but Wall Street has been very receptive to. Michigan's congressional delegation can't dictate policy to the company, but did try to prevail on GM to bring jobs home.

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