“Of course, what I’m trying to get her to do is to bring a new line in there,” Sen. Rob Portman said. “To give the workers in our region an opportunity to prove themselves yet again.”
Those following the auto industry claim in addition to Lordstown, there are also four other GM plants around the country facing the same problems — slow-selling cars and excess capacity.
They think, eventually, the company has to make choices — either close some of them and move what’s being built there or bring production in from outside the U.S.
“If they’re not going to keep making the Cruze — they’ve not said they’re not — but if they’re not, then they need to reinvest and retool in a small SUV, perhaps the Chevy Blazer that was going to be built in Mexico,” Sen. Sherrod Brown said.
While analysts claim GM is losing money with plants like Lordstown operating on only one shift, executives may actually fear becoming a target of President Donald Trump. He has been critical of corporations moving their business out of the country.
Congressman Tim Ryan has been asking the Trump administration to get involved.
“It would be nice to elevate the conversation to that level. To say, ‘You know, there are workers here and we need help,’ and he made a lot of promises to a lot of workers in this community,” Ryan said.
While Ryan and others hesitate at getting into a presidential Twitter war with GM, they think executives can be convinced it’s better for them to stay here.
“It’s good for GM, it’s good for the workforce, it’s good for the community,” Portman said. “She said she agrees, the workforce is impressive. They did a good job and there’s some discussion about retooling what’s there, other discussion about bringing new tooling.”
Some lawmakers argue GM has a responsibility to its workers and the nation to maintain its U.S. plants since the company needed American tax dollars to recover from bankruptcy and, more recently, was able to save billions through tax reform.
“There’s gotta be some product somewhere that we could sit down with the state, the locals and put a package together to make Lordstown look, to you, like a profitable place,” Ryan said.
For now, lawmakers all say they will continue having these discussions.
Almost 20 years ago, Valley residents and businesses came together to show their support for the Lordstown complex. Some think another unifying campaign is long overdue.
The effort by leaders with the United Auto Workers and the Regional Chamber was known as “Bring It Home” at the time. It was widely credited for helping convince GM executives in Detroit to award production of the Chevy Cobalt to Lordstown, which was eventually followed by the Cruze.
Former union President Jim Graham said a new campaign would help motivate the current Lordstown workforce.
“It’s more or less showing the people in the plant, backing them up, having their back and telling them, ‘Look, we know how important this plant is, how important these jobs are.'”
Graham said he’s been encouraging current union leaders to bring back the campaign as a way of once again rallying around the local complex and its workers.
69 total views, no views today