GM Workers and Politicians Come Together to Try to Save Lordstown Assembly

Nearly 300 workers, local business leaders, and a handful of state and national government officials got together this week to try to save GM’s Lordstown Assembly plant.

The assembly was part of the “Drive it Home” campaign that’s trying to save the plant from a slow slide into disuse.

GM builds the Cruze at the plant. Formerly a sales leader, the compact car’s sales have slid precipitously as the market moves out of sedans and into crossovers. The effect has been so severe that GM has eliminated two shifts in the past year and a half.

“The Youngstown-Warren region and the state of Ohio must again rally their support and encourage and assist GM’s leadership in reutilizing those shifts and the physical assets the plant offers,” wrote the Regional Chamber in a media advisory announcing the campaign.

Unfortunately, the campaign is facing an uphill battle. Senator Sherrod Brown, who was on hand for the event, said conversations with GM’s CEO Mary Barra had been difficult.

“They’re keeping it pretty close to the vest and we continue to talk with them, as I continue to talk with the White House, which has remained pretty quiet on this,” Brown told WOSU.org. “But I’m not going to give up.”

And the timing couldn’t be worse for GM, which is in the middle of cost-cutting efforts. Despite strong profits in the third quarter of this year, GM is still looking to offer buyouts to employees and executives with 12 or more years of experience. And even that might not be enough, as a recent report suggests that layoffs may become necessary, given GM’s goals.

But Danny Morgan, Lordstown UAW Shop Chairman told WOSU.org that union members are looking for any way to prove their willingness to work.

“This part is just another piece of the puzzle, to send a message on just how serious we are that we want to keep things going here in Lordstown,” Morgan said. “We’re willing to do things to be creative. We’re willing to do things to keep the company profitable. We just want a fair shake to get our members back to work.”

[source: wosu.org]

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