General Motors To Shut Down Ohio Plant, Thousands Affected

General Motors To Shut Down Ohio Plant, Thousands Affected
UAW: GM Lordstown will “keep fighting” to get new product, stop plant from idling
LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – General Motors announced the Lordstown plant will stop producing the Chevy Cruze in 2019. It said the plant will be "unallocated," meaning there will be no vehicle assigned to it next year. A source told us that will happen in March.

Local UAW 1112 President Dave Green said until now, he had never heard the term "unallocated status."

The plants will be idled until their futures are addressed when the United Auto Workers union and GM sit down next year to hash out a new agreement. The current union agreement expires next September. Two additional international plants will be closed next year as well, GM confirmed in its announcement. The automaker also plans to lay off 25 percent of its salaried workforce. All of its efforts will allegedly help the automaker save $6 billion by 2020.

GM said it's also taking actions to cut salaried and salaried contract staff by 15 percent across the country.

The decisions are part of GM's "transformation for the future," according to the company's press release on Monday. It said these decisions will improve cost efficiency and strengthen GM's core business.

All of the cars affected by the idled plant decisions were previously rumored to be on the corporate chopping block. However, GM did not confirm which nameplates will live on. Instead, it said it will “transform” its product development and allocate even greater resources to electric and self-driving vehicles. The automaker added 75 percent of its future vehicles will come from just five vehicle architectures by early next decade.

Our source said negotiations are still happening between GM and the UAW to see if the Lordstown plant will be getting another vehicle.

Lordstown has long been a prime candidate for closure as it builds a single vehicle only for the U.S. market: the Chevrolet Cruze sedan. The Cruze sedan and hatchback are also built in Mexico. The Mexican plant exports the Cruze hatchback to the U.S. and Canada, while the Mexico-made sedan is also exported to Canada.

Local community leaders and UAW officials just kicked off the Drive it Home campaign in the hopes of getting a commitment from GM about the future of the Lordstown plant. The campaign highlights how important the plant and its members are to the local economy.

General Motors will idle the Lordstown, Ohio, and Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan, the automaker made official on Monday.

Lordstown has been part of the GM family for more than 50 years so it's painful to see this happen to the plant's workers, their families and the community. We'll work with GM to see if anything can be done to preserve a future for the plant and in the meantime, we've set up a jobs center to help employees find new work as quickly as possible. Even though this is frustrating news, hardworking, skilled men and women are in demand and we're going to do everything we can to help the families affected have access to other opportunities."

“GM now intends to prioritize future vehicle investments in its next-generation battery-electric architectures. As the current vehicle portfolio is optimized, it is expected that more than 75 percent of GMs global sales volume will come from five vehicle architectures by early next decade,” the release said.

GM to Close Lordstown Plant In March

Lordstown Schools' Superintendent Terry Armstrong released a statement Monday, saying the district's thoughts are with workers and their families:

“GM is continuing to take proactive steps to improve overall business performance, including the reorganization of its global product development staffs, the realignment of its manufacturing capacity and a reduction of salaried workforce,” the company said in a news release.

Like everyone in the Mahoning Valley, we at Lordstown Schools first thoughts are with the workers and their families at GM Lordstown. We have already seen school families negatively impacted by the elimination of the first and second shifts and now this news is just devastating. Our school community will be here for them and work with all area agencies to assist in any way we can. Our thoughts are with all GM Lordstown employees, their families, and all other area workers and their families impacted by recent job losses.”

We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success, said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.

Rep. Tim Ryan said "our generation is facing a new Black Monday in the Mahoning Valley":

"We need to convince General Motors to grow jobs here in the Mahoning Valley, protect manufacturing jobs in Ohio and to make sure that American cars are made here in America and I think Lordstown is the best place to do that."

GM’s announcement is devastating for the men and women working at Lordstown and everyone here in the Mahoning Valley. For decades, workers have devoted their lives, working day and night, to produce some of the finest cars in the country for General Motors. We fought together to keep GM afloat and the American taxpayers bailed them out when they were on the verge of bankruptcy. Thousands of families have sacrificed to build GM into what it is today. And in return, GM has turned its back on us when we need them the most.

"I felt like somebody kicked me in the stomach," said UAW 1112 President David Green. "I've been working here for a long time. I've only just gotten to represent the great workers out here."

This is a bad combination of greedy corporations and policymakers with no understanding of economic development. I implore President Trump to keep his word when he came to the Mahoning Valley last year and promised jobs were ‘all coming back. They’re all coming back. Don’t move. Don’t sell your house.’ So far, President Trump has been asleep at the switch and owes this community an explanation. We tried to get his attention on this issue two years ago. He promised us that his massive corporate tax cut would lead to dramatic reinvestments in our communities. That clearly is not happening. The Valley has been yearning for the Trump Administration to come here, roll up their sleeves and help us fight for this recovery. What we’ve gotten instead are broken promises and petty tweets. Corporations like General Motors and the President himself are the only ones benefiting from this economy—an economy rigged against workers who are playing by the rules but still not getting ahead.

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – General Motors announced the Lordstown plant will stop producing the Chevy Cruze in 2019.

Reports: General Motors to close Lordstown plant next year

My office is standing by to assist all those who are impacted by this closure. Our community has always banded together in difficult times and this will be no different.”

I am deeply frustrated with General Motors’ decision to shut down its Lordstown plant and disappointed with how the hardworking employees there have been treated throughout this process. During frank conversations with GM CEO Mary Barra after the announcement that GM cut a shift at the plant due to the weakening market for the Chevy Cruze, I urged her to look to the Lordstown plant for production of other vehicles and to make a public commitment to the plant and its workforce. During today’s conversation, I pressed GM again to provide new opportunities to the Lordstown workers and take advantage of the skilled workforce there. I once again urged GM to make a commitment to bring a new product to the plant, especially since GM is proposing to build a number of new electric vehicles. In the short term, I urged GM to at least reallocate some of the production and employees to the Toledo GM plant. I will continue doing everything I can to help the Lordstown workers during this transition. For decades, workers in the Mahoning Valley have made a commitment to GM, and today GM let Northeast Ohio down.”

This is the biggest restructuring at GM in a decade, with 15% of its workforce being eliminated in North America. According to GM CEO Mary Barra, these job cuts reflect changing tastes in the automotive market and will bring a greater emphasis on electric and autonomous vehicles. Models expected to be discontinued include the Cadillac CT6, the Chevrolet Cruze and the Buick LaCrosse.

The workers at Lordstown are the best at what they do and it’s clear once again that GM doesn’t respect them. Ohio taxpayers rescued GM and it’s shameful that the company is now abandoning the Mahoning Valley and laying off workers right before the holidays. Even worse, the company reaped a massive tax break from last year’s GOP tax bill and failed to invest that money in American jobs, choosing to build its Blazer in Mexico. GM owes the community answers on how the rest of the supply chain will be impacted and what consequences its disastrous decision will have on the Mahoning Valley and our state. My office stands ready to do everything we can to help these workers. This decision is corporate greed at its worst.”

The decline of traditional passenger cars in favor of larger SUVs and pickup trucks has been a major factor in GMs evolution. In 2012, traditional passenger cars comprised over 50% of vehicle sales in the U.S., but during the first nine months of 2018, that number decreased to 31%. This year, SUV and pickup truck sales have increased by about 31%.

The Lordstown plant is very important to Ohio. After we are sworn in, Jon Husted and I will be visiting the Detroit Auto Show in January to make our case in-person to GM about the future of the plant. The auto workers there are second to none."

Alex Henderson is a news writer at AlterNet and veteran political journalist. His work has also appeared in Salon, Raw Story, Truthdig, National Memo, Philadelphia Weekly, Democratic Underground, L.A. Weekly, MintPress News and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter @alexvhenderson.

A week ago, I was proud to be a part of the 'Drive it Home' rally in Warren. The message remains the same — we want GM to know that the auto workers at Lordstown are the best at what they do and that the Lordstown plant needs to be part of the future of GM and the American auto industry."

The Lordstown plant, which opened in 1966, has over 1,400 hourly employees and nearly 200 salaried employees.

General Motors has made an announcement that is going to bring considerable pain in the Rust Belt. The automotive giant will be slashing 14,700 jobs, many of them in Michigan and Ohio—and a plant closing is expected in Ontario, Canada as well.  

Lordstown's once-bustling factory already has lost two of its three shifts and 3,000 union jobs since the beginning of last year.

Assembly plants in Ontario, Canada and Detroit, as well as propulsion plants in White Marsh, Maryland and Warren, Michigan, will also be unallocated next year.

The Associated Press is reporting that GM is slashing 14,700 factory and white collar jobs in North America. It may close five factories.

GM executives are also expected to make an announcement about one of their plants in Canada. It could include closing it, putting 2,800 people there out of work.

GM needs to reshape the company as it shifts its focus to lower emitting hybrid vehicles, technology that is not at the forefront at the Canadian plant.

General Motors will reportedly shut down operations at its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, just over an hour northwest of Pittsburgh.

According to a WKBN-TV report, production of the Chevy Cruze at the Lordstown plant will stop in March.

Those workers were told this morning that production will end on March 1, and there was no mention of another product being made at the plant.

Union leaders and politicians who are behind a campaign backing the future of the plant say they’ll continue trying to convince GM that the plant can be a part of its future.

Ohio’s incoming governor, Republican Mike DeWine, says he plans on meeting with GM officials after he takes office in January.

The once-bustling factory already has lost two of its three shifts and 3,000 union jobs since last year.

GM is reportedly slashing 14,700 factory and white collar jobs in North America, and may close five factories.

Plants without products include assembly plants in Detroit; Lordstown, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario. Also affected are transmission factories in Warren, Michigan, as well as Baltimore.

The reduction includes 8,100 white-collar workers, some of whom will take buyouts and others who will be laid off. Most of the affected factories build cars that won’t be sold in the U.S. after next year. They could close or they could get different vehicles to build. They will be part of contract talks with the United Auto Workers union next year.

The auto giant is reportedly preparing for the next economic downturn, shifting trade agreements under the Trump administration, and potential tariffs on automobiles.


Posted in Pittsburgh