Politics

Ryan Urges Trump to Fund Program to Help GM Lordstown

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the last day the Chevrolet Cruze will come off the line at General Motors Lordstown nears, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan is reaching out to President Donald Trump, and a popular watering hole is reaching out to displaced workers to say “Thank you.”

In a letter to President Donald Trump, Ryan, D-13 Ohio, made the case for funding the U.S. Department of Energy’s Domestic Manufacturing Conversion Grant Program in the forthcoming Fiscal Year 2020 Presidential Budget. Ryan stated in the letter that the program would provide grants and loan guarantees to automobile manufacturers looking to produce efficient hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid and advanced diesel vehicles.

The program gives priority to refurbishing and retooling manufacturing plants that have recently ceased operation or will cease operation in the near future. Such funding could help GM invest in producing energy-efficient vehicles at the Lordstown complex.

In November 2018, GM announced its plan to close the Lordstown complex this month and halt production of the Chevrolet Cruze made there. In that statement, the corporation said it was investing in “newer, highly efficient vehicle architectures,” and intended to “prioritize future vehicle investments in its next-generation battery-electric architectures.”

In his letter, Ryan said the Lordstown plant “has suffered from falling consumer demand for compact cars,” and that shuttering the plant will leave more than 1,400 employees out of work.

“The announced closure of GM Lordstown has hit our community hard. Thousands of families are having to make difficult decisions to make ends meet – some of them leaving everything behind to look for work, while others are holding on hope that something might change,” Ryan said in a prepared statement. “The President promised he would bring manufacturing jobs back to my district, and this conversion grant program would be a strong first step in that direction. We need to be prepared for the future of automation, and upgrading the Lordstown facility for efficient hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid, and advanced diesel vehicles would go a long way for Northeast Ohio. I urge President Trump to honor his commitment and help Lordstown.”

Click here to read Ryan’s letter to President Trump in its entirety.

In an effort to thank the workers at GM Lordstown, O’Donald’s Irish Pub and Grill in Austintown is offering a special buffet to GM employees and members of UAW Local 1112 from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday, March 8, the scheduled last day of operation at the Lordstown plant. The complimentary buffet will include drink specials and “loads of fellowship,” according to a statement from restaurateur, Christian Rinehart.

“They say misery loves company and we are all unnerved by this impending loss,” the statement reads. “Join us in raising a glass to past jobs well done and the hope that this is a temporary situation as the community works to bring a new manufacturer into the plant.”

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.