By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Motors <GM.N> Chief Executive Mary Barra will meet with Ohio’s two U.S. senators on Wednesday about the Detroit automaker’s plans to idle five North American plants and cut up to 15,000 jobs.
The announcement comes as the United Auto Workers union on Monday sent a letter to GM formally objecting to the decision to end production in 2019 at four U.S. plants and said that decision violates commitments made by the company during contract talks in 2015. The decision to close an assembly plant in Ohio has come under fire from President Donald Trump and others.
Senator Rob Portman, a Republican, and Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, said in a joint statement they will “press” GM to save the Lordstown, Ohio, plant.
Since early 2017, GM has cut two of the three production shifts at the Ohio plant that makes the Chevrolet Cruze car. GM has said it is closing the plants due to sagging demand for cars.
In the letter seen by Reuters, the UAW asked GM to rescind the decision and resolve the fate of the plants during negotiations next year. Calling the plants “unallocated” does not relieve GM “of its obligation to comply” with a moratorium on plant closings, the UAW letter said. “We will use all of our resources to enforce our agreements,” the letter said.
GM did not immediately comment on Barra’s planned trip.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis)