General Motors Steals Christmas from Working Families;
OKC Senator calls for special review of GM incentives
to ensure taxpayers dont lose money
Extremely poor leadership at the top of General Motors Corporation and out-of-control fuel costs have left thousands of central Oklahoma families out in the cold, a South Oklahoma City State Senator said today.
There is little General Motors could say or do to prove to the working families of Oklahoma that the company did not purposely deceive them in recent months about their predetermined fate, Sen. Debbe Leftwich said.
Despite months of contract renegotiations and give-backs to the faltering automotive giant by employees, I believe corporate executives were callous and cruel in their treatment of dedicated workers and hid their ultimate scheme to close the plant in Southeast Oklahoma County, said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City.
The gray suits in Detroit didnt just wake up Monday morning and decide to close one of the best plants in the country, she continued. Its obviously been in their plans for months.
Leftwich has asked Senate staff to review all incentives offered to the worlds largest automaker since its arrival in the city area to make sure that taxpayer dollars are being protected.
We gave them millions over the last quarter of a century and we need to make sure they dont skip town owing taxpayers anything.
Leftwich noted that rumors of the plants closure began circulating hevily last spring. When fuel prices skyrocketed out of control last summer, the OKC GM plant was caught making gas guzzling SUVs that no one wanted.
GM wasnt prepared. They retooled the last time for these vehicles that nearly every expert said would soon fall out of fashion because of anticipated jumps in fuel prices, she said.
It was just bad planning and a lack of vision on GMs part, she said. That lack of vision of the companys leadership has now cost thousands of people their futures, Leftwich said.
The lawmaker said she was extremely concerned the fallout from the GM closure will be much greater than local civic leaders are willing to admit.
We know already that more than GM workers are losing their jobs. How deep this closure hits us cannot be foreseen completely, she said. Its tragic.
As chair of the Business and Labor Committee, Leftwich said she planned to lead the effort in the state Senate to create or expand special programs for job assistance and placement for workers affected by the GM closure.
GM is like the Grinch that stole Christmas, Leftwich said. But were going to make sure that helping those families left out in the cold by GM is a top priority in the Oklahoma Legislature.