GM responds to Trump's tweets

Trump ripped Barra, union leader

By ROB MCLEAN, CNN BUSINESS
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

(CNN) - GM responded late Sunday to a series of angry tweets from President Donald Trump demanding that the automaker reopen or sell a plant it recently closed because of shifting customer demand.

"To be clear, under the terms of the UAW-GM National Agreement, the ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be resolved between GM and the UAW," GM said in a statement, referring to the United Automobile Workers union.

The automaker announced a major global restructuring in November, including the closure of four US plants and another in Canada. It said it would cut 8,000 salaried and contract jobs, representing a 15% reduction in its workforce.

Trump tweeted Sunday evening that he spoke with GM CEO Mary Barra about the affected factory in Lordstown, Ohio. Trump said that he "asked her to sell it or do something quickly" but that Barra "blamed the UAW Union."

Trump has repeatedly attacked GM and personally criticized Barra since the closures were first announced — perhaps in the hope that the giant carmaker would give him a political win by reconsidering its plans.

Lordstown is the first of the four US plants GM is closing. It had 1,435 hourly workers last year at the time the company announced plans to close it. Production at the plant ended this month.

GM said in its statement Sunday that its main focus was offering employees jobs in other plants "where we have growth opportunities."

"We have now placed over 1,000 employees from our unallocated plants to other GM locations, and we have opportunities available for virtually all impacted employees," it added.

Earlier in the day, Trump accused GM of letting the United States down and claimed that "other much better car companies" are coming to the United States "in droves." He may have been referring in part to Toyota's announcement last week that it would make a roughly $750 million investment across five of its existing US plants, adding nearly 600 new jobs, which Trump celebrated on Twitter.

On Sunday, Trump also criticized David Green, the local UAW president at GM's Lordstown plant, labeling him a Democrat.

Green didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said he disagreed with Trump's criticism of the local union leader.

Green "is in same boat as me," Hill said. "We have no local control, as it is between GM and UAW International. They both have a stake in this now. We will still push for a new product and remain optimistic. I am not going to beat up GM because they've been here for 53 years, they've been good neighbors."

Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for UAW International, said that the union's focus is on its members and that it "will leave no stone unturned in working to keep the plants open."

Trump's GM tweets capped a day of presidential fuming on social media. In addition to GM, the president slammed Democrats and even Fox News anchors. He also called for Jeanine Pirro's return to Fox after the network suspended her.

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