Union Workers Stand with Trump: ‘Don’t Let GM Off the Hook’ for Plant Closures

Lordstown, Ohio, GM plant
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
JOHN BINDER

The United Auto Workers (UAW) — which represents thousands of American workers at General Motors (GM) — is standing with President Trump in his recent call for GM CEO Mary Barra to reopen the corporation’s idled Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant.

This week, Trump called on Barra to reopen the recently closed GM Lordstown assembly plant. The closing of the plant resulted in the immediate layoff of about 1,600 American workers and since 2017, about 4,500 American workers in Ohio have lost their jobs at GM.

“Just spoke to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors about the Lordstown Ohio plant,” Trump said in a tweet this week. “I am not happy that it is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING. I asked her to sell it or do something quickly. She blamed the UAW Union — I don’t care, I just want it open!”

In response, the UAW is standing with Trump, asking that the populist president be involved in negotiations between GM executives and the union workers to get the assembly plant reopened — a move that would save the Lordstown area and surrounding communities from economic decline.

UAW officials wrote on Twitter a “Thank you” to Trump for standing with the laid-off American workers in Lordstown, and wrote that “Corporations close plants, workers don’t” in response to claims from Barra that the plant was idled because of union workers.

So-called “industry experts” have blasted Trump and the UAW’s effort to include the president in negotiations to reopen the Lordstown plant, arguing to the Detroit Free Press that GM executives will not be pushed into a decision.

“This is an industry with very long planning horizons at huge scales of investment and production,” said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of Industry, Labor & Economics at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor. “It’s economically significant and important to the country. But GM can’t be bullied into making decisions that aren’t good business decisions.” [Emphasis added]

“Neither one of the parties negotiates in public or in the press. This is a two-party negotiation and even the investments, which do involve states and local incentives, they’re not at the bargaining table,” said Dziczek. “This is all about what the union and GM agree on.” [Emphasis added]

GM executives and the UAW are supposed to begin negotiations on possibilities for the Lordstown plant this September, but Trump wrote online that he wants immediate action from GM.

This year, GM announced it would stop production at four of its U.S. plants, including Detroit-Hamtramck and Warren Transmission in Michigan, Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, and Baltimore Operations in Maryland. Trump initially blasted the decision, saying, “This country has done a lot for General Motors. They better get back to Ohio and soon.”

While GM closed its Lordstown plant this month, the multinational corporation’s Mexico production has remained unaffected by layoffs, and production in China has ramped up.

The Lordstown plant closure, a new analysis finds, will have a devastating impact on the working and middle-class communities in the small, Ohio region. Between the plant closure and American jobs in supporting industries around the area, about 8,000 U.S. workers in the Lordstown area are expected to lose their jobs because of GM’s decision.

Lordstown’s economic downturn from the plant closure would come as Barra continues raking in an annual salary of about $22 million and GM profits about $11 billion before taxes.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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