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Shareholders vs Workers: GM to Layoff 14k Workers and Close Five US Plants

Shareholders vs Workers: GM to Layoff 14k Workers and Close Five US Plants
On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Dr. William Spriggs, professor in, and former chair of, the Department of Economics at Howard University who also serves as chief economist to the AFL-CIO.

General Motors announced today that it plans to idle five factories in North America and cut more than 14,000 blue-collar and salaried jobs in a bid to trim costs. The action follows similar job-cutting moves by Ford Motor Company in the face of slowing sales and a shift in consumer tastes, driven in part by low gasoline prices. And it drew fire from President Donald Trump, who vowed early in his term to increase auto-making jobs and brought pressure on the industry not to shift work to Mexico and overseas. Does this indicate anything about the US economy that President Trump has been heralding as the greatest of all time? The five GM plants will halt production next year, resulting in the layoffs of 3,300 production workers in the United States and about 3,000 in Canada. The company also aims to trim its salaried staff by 8,000. Does the 8K white-collar staff layoff indicate something in addition to the blue-collar layoffs?

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith brings the baggage of Mississippi and America into tomorrow's run-off election. President Trump is hosting two rallies for her today. They want to be sure that this one goes their way. Hyde-Smith, in paying homage to a supporter, is on record as having said if he invited her to a public hanging, she would be in the "front row." She also said laws that make it "just a little more difficult" for attendees of some of the state's universities to vote are a "great idea" in a video posted Thursday. "And then they remind me that there's a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don't want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that's a great idea," Hyde-Smith said. She also has issues about her relationship with Mississippi's Confederate and Jim Crow past. What signals does this send to you based upon your research and experience?

In the wake of some of the most powerful hurricanes on record and historic wildfires in California, the Trump administration's strategy on climate has been to try to bury its own scientific report on global warming. The Trump White House, which has defined itself by a willingness to dismiss scientific findings and propose its own facts, on Friday issued a scientific report that directly contradicts its own climate change policies. What's going here? The 1,656-page National Climate Assessment, which is required by Congress, is the most comprehensive scientific study to date detailing the effects of global warming on the United States economy, public health, coastlines and infrastructure. It describes in precise detail how the warming planet will wreak hundreds of billions of dollars of damage in coming decades. President Trump has often questioned or mocked the basic science of human-caused climate change and is now working aggressively to encourage the burning of coal and the increase of greenhouse gas pollution. Your thoughts first of all on the science behind the discussion of climate change or global warming.

Mexico is planning to deport up to 500 migrants who stormed the US southern border yesterday. In a statement, the Mexican Interior Ministry said the group was rounded up after trying to cross the border "violently" and "illegally." Dozens of people, including women and children, were seen racing toward the border fence that separates the US and Mexico, even crossing through a sewage-filled river to get there. US border officers used tear gas against the group, which then retreated back away from the fence. The ministry said Sunday's actions did anything but help the migrants' objectives and could have led to a serious incident. Meanwhile, thousands of migrants remain in Tijuana with their hopes set on seeking asylum in the US.


Dr. William Spriggs — Professor in, and former chair of, the Department of Economics at Howard University who also serves as chief economist to the AFL-CIO. In his role with the AFL-CIO, he chairs the Economic Policy Working Group for the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and serves on the board of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Dr. Joseph Graves — American scientist who serves as associate dean for research and a professor of biological studies at the Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, which is jointly administered by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and UNC Greensboro. He has also written two books that address myths and theories of race in American society. Graves has made appearances in six documentary films on these general topics. He has been a principal investigator on grants from the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation and the Arizona Disease Research Commission. He was named by US Black Engineer Magazine and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Council of Deans as one of the 2017 "Innovators of the Year."

Corey Wiggins — Executive Director of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, working to tackle poverty as well as advance racial justice and economic opportunity throughout the state.

Manuel Garcia Jr. — Former physicist who writes out his analyses of physical or societal problems or interactions.

Maru Mora-Villalpando — Nationally known immigrant-rights activist, co-founder of the Latinx organization Mijente and a community organizer with Northwest Detention Center Resistance.

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