General Motors CEO Mary Barra last week continued her goodwill plant visits ahead of contract talks with the UAW by announcing a $24 million investment to increase full-size pickup production in Indiana.
Such a tactic isn't uncommon for the automaker, but it has been met with mixed reactions amid GM's plans to potentially close some U.S. plants — including Lordstown Assembly in Ohio — and lay off thousands of workers.
UAW Vice President Terry Dittes, who oversees the union's GM department, has praised most of the investments but he didn't publicly acknowledge a $700 million spending plan GM announced for three smaller Ohio plants this month and has been quick to criticize GM for its cuts.
Dittes responded to GM's promise of the $24 million in upgrades in Fort Wayne, Ind., with a curt statement noting the increased job security it would provide and the record production levels the plant has been achieving.
While GM works to show its commitment to U.S. manufacturing, the union has repeatedly tried to shift attention to Lordstown's closure and the automaker's decision to build some prominent vehicles, including the Chevrolet Blazer, in Mexico.
When GM revealed the $700 million Ohio investments, Dittes released a statement that didn't mention it or the 450 jobs GM said it would create, instead imploring the automaker to reopen Lords-town.
"In response to General Motors' announcement today, the UAW's position is unequivocal: General Motors should assign a product to the Lordstown facility and continue operating it," Dittes said May 8.
Since January, Barra has visited bustling crossover and SUV plants in Michigan, Texas and Tennessee.