UAW denounces GM investment in Mexico

Members of the United Auto Workers march in the Labor Day Parade in Detroit, September 2, 2019.

Photo AP / Paul Sancya

DETROIT (AP) – An announcement by General Motors that it would invest more than $ 1 billion in a Mexican factory that will build electric vehicles has angered the United Auto Workers union.

GM said on its Mexican website on Thursday in Spanish that it would invest in its Ramos Arizpe plant, which will become its fifth factory to manufacture battery-powered vehicles. Three more are in the United States and one in Canada.

UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement that the investment comes as GM asks the US government to subsidize purchases of electric vehicles. He calls the investment a slap in the face for American workers and says GM vehicles sold in the United States should be made in the country, employing Americans.

“Taxpayer money shouldn’t go to businesses that use labor outside of the United States while receiving grants from the US government,” Dittes said. “This is not the America that none of us signed on to.”

The company says in a statement that it is committed to creating jobs in the United States and that it is investing more than $ 9 billion in electric vehicle factories in the United States or battery factories in a joint venture. with LG Energy Solution. The factories would employ around 9,000 people.

“As a global company that manufactures and sells products around the world, we will take the appropriate steps to evolve our manufacturing footprint to support our all-EV vision,” the company said in a statement.

GM has set a goal of converting all of its new passenger vehicles from internal combustion to electricity by 2035. It has pledged to deploy 30 new electric vehicles around the world by the end of 2025.

The Ramos Arizpe plant will receive a new paint shop that will start operating in June, along with equipment to make it the company’s fifth electric vehicle production site. The plant will build electric vehicles for various GM brands from 2023, and it will build batteries, drive units and other electric vehicle components from the second half of this year. GM has not identified which EV models would be built at the plant.

The plant will continue to manufacture the Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Blazer gasoline SUVs for Mexico and will export to more than 40 countries, including the United States, GM said. The factory now has 5,600 workers, the company said.

President Joe Biden plans to spend $ 15 billion to build half a million electric vehicle charging stations by 2030, as well as to offer unspecified tax credits and rebates to lower the cost of vehicles.

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