1,000 GM Employees Were Laid Off the Day of Trump's Inauguration
A sweeping campaign promise that helped Trump win the election may be coming back to haunt him.
"We will follow two simple rules," he said in his inaugural address. "Buy American and hire American." That same day, 1,000 employees worked their final shift at the General Motors facility in Lordstown, Ohio.
"A lot of people were very depressed. I actually worry about a lot of these people because I know a lot of them and they don't know what to do," former GM worker Larry Lee told Al Jazeera.
Lee, whose job was eliminated during the recent round of layoffs, had planned on becoming an assembly plant communications manager at the company's Detroit plant, which is also cutting jobs for the first time in six years.
Lordstown's population hovers at just over 3,000, and the layoffs are likely to reverberate throughout the village.
"People don't have the money to be able to go out and spend," Arno Hill explained. "We're okay, but I'm sure that a lot of businesses, restaurants, stores, things like that... it'll hit them."
Earlier this month, GM workers had pleaded with Trump to save their jobs. Trump responded via Twitter, attempting to shame the company for manufacturing in Mexico:
General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1483446605.0
The Mexican plant sends only 4,500 cars to the U.S. every year, roughly what Lordstown employees produce in just three days. Low fuel prices are the stated reason behind GM's cutbacks. With gas prices down, Americans are buying more pickups and SUVs and fewer compact cars.
Ford, Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen all manufacture in Mexico as well. When Ford announced it was canceling a new $1.6 billion plant south of the border, Trump immediately took credit for the announcement.
"The primary reason we're canceling that plant is, we simply didn't need the capacity anymore," Ford CEO Mark Fields clarified on Fox News.
Still, President Trump doubled down on his manufacturing message during his meeting with automobile executives Tuesday.
“It’s the long-term jobs we are looking for,” he said. “I want new plants to be built here for cars sold here."