Rep. Lawrence Sends Letter to Gov. Rick Snyder to Apply for Grants to Support Laid Off Workers
"In light of General Motor’s announcement to end production at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, I have sent a letter to Governor Rick Snyder urging the state of Michigan to apply for the National Dislocated Workers Grants. These grants would help with reemploying laid off workers and enhancing their employability and earnings while also ensuring the city of Detroit and southeast Michigan have the proper resources to help the affected workers maintain their livelihood. This community and these workers deserve better. The time is now!" -Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14)
November 30, 2018
Governor Rick Snyder
Executive Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
Dear Governor Snyder,
I write to you regarding the stoppage of production in the Detroit-Hamtramck General Motors Assembly Plant that has helped support a crucial segment of Michigan’s economy since its opening in 1985. On November 26, 2018, General Motors (GM) announced that it would no longer allocate vehicle production to five plants: Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan; Warren, Michigan; Oshawa, Ontario; Lordstown, Ohio; and White Marsh, Maryland.
On the behalf of the 14th District of Michigan, I urge you to apply for the National Dislocated Workers Grants to assist these dislocated employees and meet the increased demand for employment and training services.
GM is the primary employer in the region, and with the nationwide elimination of more than 14,000 salaried and non-salaried employees, there will be significant economic consequences for the southeast region of Michigan, and the 14th District which I represent. In the 14th District of Michigan, 1,523 people will be directly affected by the stoppage of production, while an additional 8,833 people will be impacted in related industries. Even more troubling, nearly one in five of the affected workers are 55 or older. In terms of income, more than 25 percent of the employees earn less than $40,000, with many already having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Detroit has the highest poverty rate of the nation’s 20 largest cities and has an unemployment rate of more than 5 percent, compared to the state’s 3.61 percentage rate. This is unacceptable, this community and these workers deserve better. Without the proper supports at the local and state level, these workers lack the proper resources to get trained in another field placing their future in jeopardy.
Established under the Workforce and Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the National Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs) are discrepancy grants awarded by the Secretary of Labor to provide resources to states and other eligible applicants in response to large, unexpected layoff events causing significant job losses. This grant is directly applicable to GM’s announcement with a purpose of reemploying laid off workers and enhancing their employability and earnings. DWGs will ensure the city of Detroit and southeast Michigan have the proper resources to help the affected workers maintain their livelihood.
Earlier this year, Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio in coordination with the State of Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services, played a key role in obtaining $1.75 million in DWG grants from the U.S. Department of Labor to help their workers affected by layoffs at the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio. We must mirror these efforts and work together to ensure we secure critical resources for our state’s workers.
In the last 30 years, the Detroit-based assembly plant has employed thousands of workers and has built over 4 million vehicles. Annually, the plant’s state wages amount to an estimated $139 million, with income tax of more than $25 million. The result of these employees’ hard work is unemployment, as most workers will be displaced by June of 2019.
I ask that you please consider applying for the DWGs for those affected by layoffs at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant to strengthen what would be a weakened economy and community. Thank you.
Member of Congress
Brenda L. Lawrence