General Motors Laying Off 1,300 Michigan Workers

On Thursday, American auto manufacturing giant General Motors (GM) announced a significant move that has sent ripples across the nation’s automotive industry and the economy as a whole. This decision to lay off 1,300 workers in the state comes in the wake of substantial taxpayer support provided by the state legislature. The layoffs will be fully phased in between January 1 and March 31, 2024.

The layoff will affect workers across Michigan immediately following the Christmas holiday. The announcement is somewhat surprising, given the company’s recent financial gains, and is further complicated by the hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds GM received through deals orchestrated by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

The layoffs will primarily affect 945 workers at the Orion Assembly and 369 at the Lansing Grand River plants. The Orion layoffs are attributed to delayed Electric Vehicle (EV) production. At the same time, the Lansing cuts coincide with the end of production of the stalwart Chevrolet Camaro.

GM had previously announced it would begin production of new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra EV models at the Orion plant next year. The layoff announcement said the company has now decided to “retime the conversion” of the facility to EV passenger truck production. It now appears production will not begin until at least late 2025.

The taxpayer subsidies provided to GM in recent years have primarily been aimed at bolstering local employment and furthering EV innovation and production. In an announcement last year, Whitmer pointed out that GM’s promised $7 billion investment in new Michigan facilities would allegedly create and retain 5,000 high-paying union jobs.

GM has left open the prospect that it could rehire the affected workers. The company’s notice said, “It is possible that placement opportunities in other local GM plants will be available for most, if not all, of the affected employees.”

Industry analysts are raising serious questions about the future trajectory of GM and Michigan’s automotive industry. As the industry evolves, particularly with the ongoing federal promotion of EV technology, it remains to be seen how job opportunities in this sector will be affected.