News Bite

Electric vehicle transition kills hundreds of jobs at GM

Automaker looks to cut $2B in spending, per Detroit Free Press

General Motors will be laying off hundreds of contract workers to fund its transition from gas engines to electric vehicles, the Detroit Free Press reports.

As the Freep’s Jamie La Reau notes, these layoffs come just a month after GM announced buyouts for 5,000 salaried workers.

While automakers and politicians insist that the electric vehicle is the future of the American auto industry, the transition typically brings job cuts, not job growth. And according to the Free Press, more job losses could come:

Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University, said more job cuts can be expected across GM’s workforce as the company funds its transition to all electric vehicles. That could be significant as GM will start negotiating a new contract with the UAW for its hourly workforce this summer.

“GM, like its other Detroit 3 competitors, struggles continually to realign its cost structure to shift from internal combustion to electrification,” Masters said. “This will require cuts in the salaried and hourly workforces, the contracted workforce, and the disposing of obsolete production assets as result of the shift. This is not a stationary but rather a moving target, and these kinds of adjustments can be expected as [the] pace of transition accelerates.”

Last June, Michigan lawmakers granted Ford Motor Co. $100 million to hire 3,030 workers to build electric vehicles. Two months later, it laid off 3,000 workers, mostly white collar ones, and mostly from Michigan.

Ford traded 3,000 white-collar jobs for 3,000 blue-collar jobs, and did it using taxpayer money. The company lost $5 billion on EVs in a two-year span.

GM, meanwhile, plans to transition to an all-EV fleet by 2035. That’s the same year pending regulations from the Biden aministration, if they become rules, could all but end the sale of new gas engines in America.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.