Lawmakers dismayed by GM’s decision to close Lordstown plant

November 26, 2018 GMT

Lawmakers dismayed by GM’s decision to close Lordstown plant

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Ohio lawmakers on Monday expressed frustration with General Motors’ decision to shutter its Lordstown assembly plant, which employs roughly 1,600 people, as part of a move that the company billed as “transformation for the future.”

Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown described the decision to shutter the plant in March as “corporate greed at its worst.”

Brown noted that earlier this year, the company announced plans to build its new Chevy Blazer in Mexico on the day it ended a second shift in Lordstown. He criticized the company for using the tax breaks it got in last year’s Republican tax bill to eliminate jobs instead of investing in U.S. workers. 

 “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,” said a statement from Brown.

“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.”

My statement on the situation in Lordstown. pic.twitter.com/Wx2u9V8iPu— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) November 26, 2018

Niles-area Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan described the closure as “a new Black Monday in the Mahoning Valley” and noted the announcement came after GM eliminated approximately 3,000 jobs at the plant over the last two years. He said the cloure would be “devastating” for the region, as well as workers at the plant.

“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.”

Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman released a statement after the announcement that expressed disappointment with how the plant workers were treated, noting that he asked GM CEO Mary Barra to produce other vehicles at the plant after it cut shifts there due to the weakening market for the Chevy Cruze.

“I will continue doing everything I can to help the Lordstown workers during this transition,” Portman said. “For decades, workers in the Mahoning Valley have made a commitment to GM, and today GM let Northeast Ohio down.”

In announcing the shutdown at Lordstown and several other plants in the United States and Canada, GM said the changes would improve its overall business performance and improve the company’s cash flow by $6 billion annually.

“The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future,” said a statement from GM Barra. “We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success.”

Politically, the area was split in the 2016 presidential election. In Trumbull County, President Donald Trump won the vote, 51.1 percent to 44.8 percent. But in neighboring Mahoning County, which includes Youngstown, Hillary Clinton won, 49.9 percent to 46.6. percent.