ICYMI: NBC News: Factory workers at GM see layoffs, not benefits, after tax cuts
March 22, 2019
Key Point: “[Trump] famously urged a large crowd: ‘Don’t move. Don’t sell your house. … We’re going to get those jobs coming back.’ Those were welcomed words at the rally, where manufacturing jobs had been disappearing for decades — and still are. But that’s not how it worked out for workers here in northeastern Ohio. In fact, the results, so far, have been the opposite of Trump’s promises. GM has shed roughly 3,000 hourly and salaried jobs in the area since the tax cuts.”
NBC News: Factory workers at GM see layoffs, not benefits, after tax cuts
By Kathryn Kranhold
Cheryl Jonesco had a plum job installing backup cameras in the Chevrolet Cruze compact car at the storied General Motors plant here. Her work on the assembly line for the last decade provided the financial means to buy a home while raising her now-teenage daughter.
But now, at 40, Jonesco’s life has been upended. On the Monday after Thanksgiving, GM announced it was ending current production at the plant here and at four others in the United States and Canada, largely because of changing customer tastes, which now favor SUVs over compacts. GM idled the plant March 8. Meanwhile Jonesco and hundreds of co-workers have essentially been forced to move south to fill GM openings in Spring Hill, Tennessee — leaving behind their families and homes. For Jonesco, that meant saying good-bye to her daughter, Marisa, who stayed behind with her grandparents to finish high school.
The shutdown has ripple effects that are stretching as far as the White House, but the most profound impact is in the struggling Mahoning Valley in northeast Ohio. At a nearby GM supplier, Comprehensive Logistics, workers learned just days before Christmas that their jobs also would end. One longtime employee, George Conne, said he worried about paying for his teenage daughter’s college education. He already worked a second job as a basketball referee. “This isn’t your rich city that’s been blessed,” said the 50-year-old Conne, who put together 450 struts a day for the Chevrolet Cruze’s suspension system.
This wasn’t supposed to happen, especially here. And especially now, in the wake of President Donald Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, one of the largest tax-cut laws ever. The legislation cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, handing businesses a $1.35 trillion windfall over 10 years. The law gave tens of billions of dollars more in breaks on business investments and foreign profits, too. The Trump administration sold the huge rate cuts, the driving force behind the tax law, as the way to bring back American jobs and keep companies from moving overseas.
This area has long been a backdrop for photo opportunities illustrating industrial heartland economic woes. It was less than two years ago that Trump showed up in nearby Youngstown and decried the jobs lost overseas. He famously urged a large crowd: “Don’t move. Don’t sell your house. … We’re going to get those jobs coming back.” Those were welcomed words at the rally, where manufacturing jobs had been disappearing for decades — and still are.
But that’s not how it worked out for workers here in northeastern Ohio. In fact, the results, so far, have been the opposite of Trump’s promises. GM has shed roughly 3,000 hourly and salaried jobs in the area since the tax cuts.
“General Motors got this big tax break, and they are taking the jobs away here,” Jonesco lamented during an interview at a local hangout, Nese’s Country Café.
The pending closure has become a political fight, not just a corporate cost-cutting and repositioning move. This week, Trump, sensing the bad political optics of a tax law not bringing back jobs like he promised, went after GM leadership and its local union leader. He said he talked with GM Chief Executive Mary Barra. “I asked her to sell it or do something quickly,” tweeted Trump, who has made GM an ongoing target.
But Trump’s threats and promises about bringing back jobs to the area could be an empty one, as the tax law’s impact on the economy, as limited as it has been, may be coming to an end, economists say.