GM's CEO Won't Commit to Keeping Lordstown Open

UAW 1112 to Trump: Urge GM to Invest in Lordstown

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – The president of UAW Local 1112 has made an appeal to President Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and Gov. John Kasich, asking them to urge General Motors Co. to reinvest the windfall of savings from the new tax structure in GM’s Lordstown plant.

“Portman, Trump and Kasich haven’t said anything about GM shipping production overseas, as far as I know,” said Dave Green. “They’ve talked about Harley-Davidson, but we’d like to get a feeling on whether they’re fine with GM work going to Mexico.”

Green, the newly elected president of Local 1112, said that U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13, and several state legislators have written to GM officials expressing their concern over the latest round of layoffs at the Lordstown plant and the opportunity to reinvest there.

During a press conference last week after a tour of Vallourec Star in Youngstown, Brown told reporters that he’s spoken with GM CEO Mary Barra, who told him that retooling the Lordstown plant to accommodate the Chevrolet Blazer would be too expensive. Last month, GM announced it would build the Blazer in Mexico.

Moreover, Brown said that Barra would not commit to maintaining production at the Lordstown plant in the future.

“She would not commit that they would keep that plant open,” Brown said during a press event July 3. “She said it depends on productivity and the Chevy Cruze.”

Last month, 1,200 workers at GM Lordstown lost their jobs when the plant was reduced to a single shift. Sales of the fuel-efficient Chevrolet Cruze have dropped significantly, as the market has transitioned from buying small vehicles to crossovers and SUVs.

Green said he sent the letters – they contain almost identical language – out last Thursday and Friday, urging the president to convince GM to use the savings it would incur as a result of new corporate tax structure for reinvestment in the Lordstown plant.

“We think that GM, with its billions of dollars in new tax breaks, should invest that money in America,” Green said.

Green wrote in his letter to President Trump “that the future of many Ohio working families is in jeopardy.”

The letter continued:

“You campaigned on the promise to keep Americans working, yet on June 22, 2018, GM announced they would build the new Chevy Blazer in Mexico. Ironically this was also the very last day of our second shift, another 1,200 workers, were laid off. The fact that many of our members here in Ohio voted for you, and for you to remain silent on this issue is disturbing. What’s more, GM recently received huge tax breaks through the new tax policy. The cut in corporate tax rate will save General Motors billions of dollars.”

“We would like to continue to work building quality products in Ohio. This is why I am respectfully asking that you make a request to General Motors to reinvest their tax savings in the Lordstown Complex. If you sell it here, you need to build it here. This is how we can keep America working.”

The letter sent to Portman can be read here, while the full letter addressed to Trump is here.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.