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GENERAL MOTORS CHAIRMAN DEFENDS AMERICAN WORKERS

 GENERAL MOTORS CHAIRMAN DEFENDS AMERICAN WORKERS
 CHICAGO, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- General Motors Chairman Robert C.


Stempel today praised American workers for helping the U.S auto industry make "significant improvements in quality, reliability, durability, safety and fuel economy."
 Stempel told reporters at the Chicago Auto Show that he is "betting the future of the country on American workers."
 "A lot of hard-working, dedicated people made those improvements possible -- not just in the auto industry, but in steel, glass, the chemical industry, and rubber," he said.
 Stempel said he's confident that the American public will recognize that "we're manufacturing leading-edge products with high value and customer-satisfying features" despite "all the rhetoric we have heard about 'lazy, uneducated American workers,' and 'bad management.'"
 Keeping a highly trained work force employed in the domestic auto industry is vital to the U.S. economy, Stempel said.
 "You really aren't going to have a strong industrial base in this country without a strong domestic auto industry," and an "industry of transplants alone isn't going to do it," Stempel said.
 Auto plants operated by the Big Three domestic producers -- GM, Ford and Chrysler -- make about 97 percent of their expenditures with U.S. suppliers, compared with transplant operations run by overseas automakers who spend less than 48 percent with U.S. suppliers, Stempel said, citing figures from the Economic Strategy Institute.
 Although the transplant operations have created some jobs in the United States, Stempel noted that "as cars made in those plants displaced sales of Big Three models, the lower domestic content of the transplants resulted in the loss of nearly 125,000 U.S. supplier jobs." That's more than three times the number of jobs added by the transplants. The net result was a "loss of more than 80,000 jobs and a reduction of $6 billion in Gross National Product."
 If the domestic manufacturing base continues to shrink, Stempel said, America's young people will find it increasingly difficult to find jobs. "I'm not talking about just the jobs on the assembly line," he said. "If we lose auto manufacturing, we also lose the engineering jobs, the jobs in supplier operations, and even some of the jobs in high-tech areas like computer programming, design, and maintenance."
 Because "our future depends on our workers," Stempel said, GM continues to invest in the development of its people and improvements in its automotive designs and processes, adding that the investments are paying off. GM has the right vehicles to convince consumers that "we've got products that can compete anywhere and with anything built anywhere," he explained. "Today, GM's doesn't have to apologize for the quality or value it is offering. We know we've got what it takes to compete."
 No one has spent more time and effort than General Motors to assure that its employes have the "necessary education, training and skills to compete with any work force anywhere in the world," Stempel said.
 In addition to local plant training efforts, GM has committed more than $1.6 billion to the education and training of its workers since 1984. The support goes beyond basic job-skills training. Since 1985, Stempel explained, "GM has provided more than $115 million in tuition assistance to more than 200,000 hourly workers." Last year, more than two-thirds of all tuition reimbursements were for course work leading to a college degree.
 -0- 2/7/92
 /CONTACT: Mark A. Tanner of General Motors, 313-556-2032/
 (GM) CO: General Motors Corporation ST: Michigan, Illinois IN: AUT SU:


SB -- DE011 -- 7811 02/07/92 13:28 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 7, 1992
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