FLINT, Mich. — General Motors said Tuesday it will add 1,000 workers to build new heavy-duty pickup trucks at its plant in Flint, Michigan, and will give priority to GM workers who were laid off elsewhere.
The announcement comes the day after GM said it was starting to hand pink slips to about 4,000 salaried workers in the latest round of a restructuring announced in late November that will ultimately shrink its white-collar workforce in North America by 15 percent out of 54,000.
GM has come under fire from U.S. President Donald Trump and Midwestern lawmakers for its plans to stop production at five North American factories and cut up to 15,000 jobs in all. The automaker has said it is trying to find new jobs for 1,500 U.S. hourly workers at the affected plants. Flint's truck plant could be a haven for many of these employees.
Sales of heavy-duty pickups in the United States have grown to more than 600,000 vehicles a year, up more than 20 percent since 2013, according to industry data. Prices for luxury models can easily top $70,000.
GM on Tuesday will celebrate the launch of a new generation of heavy-duty GMC and Chevrolet pickups at the assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, that is now building all such trucks for the company.
Elsewhere in the company on Monday, two people briefed on the cuts in the white-collar salaried workforce said GM is cutting hundreds of jobs at its information technology centers in Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Michigan and more than 1,000 jobs at its Warren, Michigan Tech Center. GM is filing new required mass layoff notices with state agencies and disclosed the cuts to lawmakers.
The largest U.S. automaker announced in November it would cut a total of about 15,000 jobs and end production at five North American plants. The cuts include eliminating about 8,000 salaried workers, or about 15 percent.
GM cut about 1,500 contract workers in December and said 2,300 salaried workers accepted buyouts, officials said.
"These actions are necessary to secure the future of the company, including preserving thousands of jobs in the U.S. and globally. We are taking action now while the overall economy and job market are strong, increasing the ability of impacted employees to continue to advance in their careers, should they choose to do so," GM spokesman Pat Morrissey said, adding the bulk of the cuts should be completed in the next two weeks.
Morrissey said GM would provide salaried workers with severance packages and job placement services.
GM is also cutting its executive ranks by 25 percent and last week laid off three senior people in its Washington office, and some other small salaried layoffs previously took place.
President Donald Trump and U.S. and Canadian lawmakers have blasted GM's plans to end production at plants in Ontario, Michigan, Ohio and Maryland. GM said in November it would end U.S. and Canadian production of the Chevrolet Cruze, Volt, Impala, the Buick LaCrosse and the Cadillac XTS. Production of the Cadillac CT6 sedan appears as if it will continue at least a little longer, but not where it's currently built, at GM's Hamtramck facility.
Trump, who made a 2017 speech near GM's Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio, said in November the company had "better" find a new product for that plant.
But GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra wrote last week: "We are more convinced than ever that our strategy is sound and in the long term."
Last month, Comprehensive Logistics said it would cease operations at its facility in Lordstown that provides logistics and warehousing, impacting about 180 jobs. Magna International Inc is also laying off about 120 people at its Lordstown Seating Systems plant that makes seats for GM vehicles.