General Motors announced today that they would be closing 9 plants and RIFing 30,000 people in the next 3 years. 30,000 people. For Michiganders, that means the Lansing plant, the Flint engine facility, and the service and parts center in Ypsilanti will be closed, with the potential for another plant closing.
For three areas that need all the jobs they can get, this is a huge blow. For a state economy that’s floundering, this could be devastating. It’s also the first of what will likely be more announcements. Northwest has been louding proclaiming their financial problems; other auto makers aren’t doing as well as they would like.
When are we going to get serious about moving away from a manufacturing-based economy? We need to start busting the myth that people entering the work force can get a job on the line just like their parents. Those jobs just won’t be there in the numbers needed. Unions need to start being honest with their members that they can’t stop plant closings at this scale. Workers need to wake up and realize that no matter what orginization you belong to, you aren’t safe from these kinds of actions. And Michigan needs to shake off the dream that manufacturing jobs are going to come back.