O’Hara Steps Down as President of UAW Local 1112

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After 13 months in office, Tim O’Hara says now was the opportune time to resign as president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, the union that once represented autoworkers at General Motors’ Lordstown Complex.

O’Hara, who relocated to Kentucky last year, said he knew that his tenure wouldn’t last as long as a normal three-year term.  Still, he made trips to the Mahoning Valley often and decided to remain in office through a bitter UAW strike last fall and throughout the first stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was getting up here on a regular basis, but when the virus hit, everyone hunkered down,” he said.  “I was waiting until I was comfortable about leaving.”

His retirement was announced on Local 1112’s Facebook page yesterday and made effective immediately.  Vice President Darwin Cooper will now serve out O’Hara’s term, according to the post. 

The union has 45 days to fill the vice president position, the announcement said. 

O’Hara took office in July 2019 after his predecessor, Dave Green, was relocated to a plant in Indiana after GM shuttered its Lordstown manufacturing complex.  The plant once produced the Chevrolet Cruze and five years ago employed more than 4,000 workers.

Local 1112 today represents less than 20 active workers in the Mahoning Valley that are employed at Mahoning County Job and Family Services and a local information technology company.

GM announced in November 2018 that it would cease production of the Cruze place Lordstown on “unallocated” status, meaning that a new product would not be assigned to the plant. GM said that demand for the vehicle had plummeted over recent years and a decision was made to discontinue the model nearly two years before its build cycle ended. 

The last Cruze drove off the line in March 2019, and GM officially closed the plant in October of that year after the International UAW and the automaker reached a new collective bargaining agreement, ending a 40-day strike.

“I still think they unjustly closed the plant,” O’Hara said, noting there are dealerships in Kentucky that have customers inquiring about buying the Cruze. He also thinks that the state should pressure GM to repay $60 million in tax credits the automaker received in return for its promise to keep the Lordstown plant open at least until 2024. 

“The state owes it to the Valley to recoup as much as they can,” O’Hara said. 

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.