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Valley lawmakers respond to GM layoff announcement

Say they will keep fighting for Lordstown workers, jobs
November 26, 2018
Democratic Newsroom

Mahoning Valley state Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), John Boccieri (D-Poland), Mike O’Brien (D-Warren) and Glenn Holmes (D-McDonald) today responded to General Motors’ (GM) announced 14,700 layoffs nationwide in the coming months, with plans to end production of the GM Cruze at their Lordstown, Ohio plant March 1, 2019:

“I am angered and dismayed by GM’s decision to abandon its commitment to Mahoning Valley workers after more than 50 years,” said state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown). “This closure will have far-reaching effects, both in the Valley and across Ohio, as thousands of working families deal with the real consequences of corporate giants who put profits before people. I remain committed to working with local, state and federal officials, as well the UAW and the local business community to ensure every worker affected by this closure has the resources and services they need.”

The Lordstown Complex, which has produced vehicles since 1966, is likely the latest victim in GM’s corporate restructuring which will end production at five plants and eliminate 15 percent of the company’s total workforce.

“Though today might be a tough blow, there is still hope,” Lepore-Hagan added. “With negotiations between the UAW and GM ongoing about the ultimate fate of the facility, I will continue to offer the support of my office and will use whatever means I have to ensure GM retains operations in the Mahoning Valley. The challenge is daunting, but we in the Valley rarely back down from fighting for a good cause. We’ll continue that fight in the months ahead.”

 The GM Lordstown Complex employees 1,500 people, with most holding membership with UAW Local 1112.

“I supported the Auto Rescue when serving in Congress with the belief that a strong GM is good for our economic security as well as our national security,” said Rep. John Boccieri (D- Poland).   “It’s disappointing that so many families will suffer economic insecurity with this announcement as well as the threat to our national security - The Lordstown facility would be making our Humvees, tanks or C-130’s if we ever went to war. We are weaker as a community and as a country with this decision.”

Ohio state lawmakers have been active in fighting to reduce layoffs and grow jobs at the Lordstown facility, sending a delegation to meet with GM’s corporate leadership just last month.

“I was deeply saddened by the gut wrenching news GM officials provided me early this morning of GM Lordstown no longer having a product allocation. We continued to reach out to General Motors to position ourselves to be effective, productive and efficient as they were making decisions for sustainability of the Chevy Cruze and any other future product allocation for the Lordstown facility,” said state Rep. Glenn Holmes, who traveled with Rep. Mike O’Brien (D-Warren) and other Valley lawmakers to the Oct. GM meeting.

“Global industrial profit margin of the Cruze along with gas prices seemed to be paramount in their decision for non-allocation at Lordstown. The hard working men and women at GM Lordstown are the best asset GM has,” added Holmes. “Not to leverage that commodity against any other economic dynamic is a huge mistake. We will continue to press for a new product line as GM moves forward forever reminding them of the quality of this region and of the quality of our workforce.”

Gov. John Kasich too has now added his name to a growing list of elected officials concerned about GM’s loss in the Mahoning Valley. Kasich said the state will offer “job centers” to help any displaced workers in the coming months. It’s unclear if the state’s economic development arm, JobsOhio, has been actively engaged with the company.

“GM’s announcement is devastating for our community and all of the workers and families who make America run,” said Rep. Mike O’Brien (D-Warren). “Because a plant closure in Lordstown would have an outsized economic impact on supporting businesses and workers throughout Ohio, it is more important now than ever that all statewide leaders are engaged with GM and working to not just protect local jobs, but to grow local jobs while keeping us competitive on a global scale.”

Though GM CEO Mary Barra mentioned cost concerns over President Trump’s latest steel and aluminum tariffs in remarks today, it is unclear to what extent, if any, the tariffs playing in GM’s efforts to cut costs. GM gained record tax breaks from the latest GOP federal tax restructuring.