GM CEO offers little hope for a new vehicle at the Lordstown complex

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Letter from the Drive It Home campaign in Ohio thanks Barra for meeting with the governor

Staff report


The future of the Lordstown General Motors complex was not driven by the Detroit Auto Show with the company's CEO, Mary Barra, who offers little hope that a new vehicle will be badigned here.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine met for about 45 minutes on Thursday in Detroit with Barra and other GM executives, but failed to make a commitment that the automaker will keep its Lordstown plant open after production of the Chevrolet Cruze ends. in March.

The installation employs about 1,500 workers.

But DeWine, who was sworn in as governor on Monday and traveled to Detroit, said Barra was committed to working with his administration, regardless of the decision made.

"My preference was to keep Lordstown open with a new product," DeWine told The Vindicator on Thursday. "We are going to do everything possible to work with GM."

While in Detroit, DeWine also met with Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill; James Dignan, president and CEO of the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber; Dave Green, president of the union of United Auto Workers Local 1112; and others from the Valley who were there as part of the Drive It Home Ohio campaign to save the Lordstown plant.

DeWine said he badured Valley leaders that his administration will work closely with them in the future of the badembly complex in Lordstown.

Dignan and Green, on behalf of the Drive It Home Ohio campaign, sent a letter to Barra on Thursday after his meeting with the governor.

The letter says: "We thank you for meeting with Governor Mike DeWine. The entire community has come together to work with General Motors to keep Lordstown's facilities open. We have the most hard-working and most productive people on the planet, ready to help General Motors make the vehicles of the future.

"We have been part of the GM family for 53 years and we are ready for the next 53. We are optimistic that the meeting between you and Gov. Mike DeWine will demonstrate the state's commitment to a partnership that works for General Motors and keeps everyone working.

In saying that they hoped for a "continuous conversation" between all parties, Dignan and Green noted the legacy between General Motors and the Valley.

"In good and bad times, Mahoning Valley stood firm with General Motors and we only asked for the opportunity to get up, go to work every day and help GM make the best cars and trucks in the world."

Meanwhile, Green will be the guest of the representative of the United States Tim Ryan for the speech on the State of the Union, which will be announced on January 29, but the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, asked the president to postpone it.

"Dave will represent the hundreds of laid-off GM workers in Lordstown who deserve to be seen and heard," said Ryan, of Howland, D-13. "I appreciate your leadership and I can not imagine a better partner in this fight to save GM Lordstown."

DeWine told The Vindicator that he emphasized to Barra that his administration will work closely with GM, the unions and the leadership in the Mahoning Valley to "get the best resolution" for the future of the Lordstown plant.

However, he admitted that "I do not know what the resolution is, I think this is a very viable plant, I hope … if GM does not have another product, we will have another company there."

DeWine said Barra and other GM officials said they were willing to work closely with his administration.

"That was my goal" to go to Detroit and meet with decision makers, he said.

Barra's refusal to point out what will happen to the 53-year-old Lordstown complex coincides with a story in the Detroit Free Press that is not good news for the Mahoning Valley.

The Free Press reported Thursday: "Barra offered little hope on Wednesday night to the employees of the badembly plants of Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown that new vehicles will be badigned to the plants to keep them running."

The newspaper said that when Barra was asked if Detroit-Hamtramck or Lordstown could get one of the 20 new electric vehicles that GM plans to bring to the market in the next decade, she replied: "We have more products to come that we will incorporate in the United States. and we are going to provide opportunities, we need to make sure that capacity is increasing in other plants where we are still working to improve. "

DeWine said he was aware of the story.

In addition, there will be a candlelight vigil at 4:30 p.m. today in Detroit by UAW members of the four plants that GM plans to leave idle this year.

The Trumbull County commissioners will join Green and other local UAW members in the event.

Commissioner Dan Polivka said he hopes to meet with Barra today.

"I have spoken with [my] fellow commissioners and we are in full support and willing to offer tax incentives "or" anything we can do to help [GM] have a change of heart either modernization for [a] "New vehicle or a hybrid or electric vehicle," said Polivka. "We are ready and willing to go the extra mile."

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