Who said life was simple: Under Restructuring, GM To Build More Cars Overseas
The U.S. government is pouring billions into General Motors in hopes of reviving the domestic economy, but when the automaker completes its restructuring plan, many of the company's new jobs will be filled by workers overseas.
According to an outline the company has been sharing privately with Washington legislators, the number of cars that GM sells in the United States and builds in Mexico, China and South Korea will roughly double.
As a result, the long-simmering argument over U.S. manufacturers expanding production overseas -- normally arising between unions and private companies -- is about to engage the Obama administration.
[Former labor secretary Robert B. Reich asks:] "If GM is going to do more of its production overseas, then why exactly are we saving GM?"
The administration has aroused similar complaints by shepherding a merger between Chrysler and Italian automaker Fiat. But it has extracted a promise from Fiat that it will build small cars in the United States.
The complaints about GM's operations portend a potentially larger argument, a political dispute led in part by the United Auto Workers.
While paying a U.S. autoworker with benefits costs about $54 an hour, a South Korean worker earns about $22 an hour, a Mexican worker earns less than $10 an hour and some Chinese workers can earn as little as $3 an hour, industry sources said.
"If you are shutting down plants in this country, U.S. tax dollars should not go for building plants in other countries," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) . . . .