General Motors announced it will stop making the Chevy Cruze in 2019. It said the Lordstown plant, among others, will be “unallocated,” meaning there will be no vehicle assigned there as of March 1.
GM has been making cars in Lordstown for 52 years — since 1966. It’s changed models numerous times but has been making the Chevy Cruze since 2010.
Monday’s decision is GM’s biggest change ever in Northeast Ohio. It’s something all of us will feel.
“There’s not a neighborhood in the Mahoning Valley that will not be hurt and affected by this,” Rep. Tim Ryan said. “There won’t be a business in the Mahoning Valley — same up in Michigan. This stings, this hurts.”
There are 30 parts suppliers around Ohio which could also feel an impact from this.
GM said it’s also taking actions to cut salaried and salaried contract staff by 15 percent across the country.
It’s expected to save GM $6 billion.
“Just not happy with General Motors right now,” Ryan said. “This is a slap in the face to the workers.”
The Cruze was a popular car when gas cost $4 a gallon but now that it’s at $2 a gallon, Cruze sales are down 26 percent.
GM said it was cutting production of slow-selling models as part of a $3 billion restructuring plan and that included the Cruze.
“If you look across the board at Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, people just aren’t buying the cars,” Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said.
The immediate impact starts March 1 with 1,200 who work in the assembly plant and up to 300 more who work for parts suppliers in the region. Their jobs will be gone.
In 2017, the plant provided $250 million in wages and $48 million in withholding taxes.
GM is stopping Cruze production but was careful to say the plant is not being idled or closed.
“Non-allocated status, I gotta be honest, this is the first time I’ve heard of such a situation,” said Local UAW 1112 President Dave Green. “But that also gives me hope. If we were in closed status, this would be a different conversation so I think there’s hope for Lordstown.”
The hope could come if Lordstown is included in GM’s plans for the future — electric and autonomous vehicles — but Lordstown will be competing with other plants, including two which were also labeled unallocated.
GM said it will continue to invest in trucks, crossovers and SUVs. GM and the UAW are negotiating to see if the Lordstown plant will be getting another vehicle.
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.
That campaign is still happening as workers and leaders try to bring another vehicle to the Valley.
“Them not shutting down — of course, we’re going to hope we’re going to get a future product but the writing is on the wall and it’s not looking good,” said laid-off worker Tommy Wolikow.
GM got rid of the second shift this summer and now it’s getting rid of the final shift. Lordstown’s once-bustling factory has already lost 3,000 union jobs since the beginning of last year.
“Lordstown, and Michigan, and Detroit and all these other communities were on the receiving end of a massive attitude of ‘corporations can do no wrong and screw the worker,'” Rep. Ryan said.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he’s setting up a jobs center to help people affected:
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.”
Lordstown Schools’ Superintendent Terry Armstrong released a statement Monday, saying the district’s thoughts are with workers and their families:
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.”
Rep. Tim Ryan said “our generation is facing a new Black Monday in the Mahoning Valley”:
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.
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.
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.”
Sen. Rob Portman said “GM let Northeast Ohio down”:
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.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown called GM’s decision “corporate greed”:
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.”
Rep. Bill Johnson said his “heart goes out to the hardworking men and women”:
I’m very disappointed with GM’s announcement to close the Lordstown plant. My heart goes to the hardworking men and women who work there. While, locally, we have seen a big economic upswing for many industries and sectors, it doesn’t make today’s announcement any easier to take. I’m hopeful that another automotive manufacturing company will come in and take over the Lordstown facility, and take advantage of our exceptionally hardworking and well-trained workforce here in the Mahoning Valley.”
State Sen. Sean O’Brien said Valley lawmakers “won’t stop fighting”:
Today’s news is heartbreaking for the Mahoning Valley but we won’t give up. We have one of the most talented and dedicated workforces right here in the Valley. Our community — local, state and federal leaders — has been working tirelessly to ensure the future of the Lordstown plant. And, despite today’s news, we won’t stop fighting.”
State Sen. Joe Schiavoni said the community has to “stick together” to show GM the mistake it’s making:
Today’s news hurts and is not what anyone wanted to hear. I think about all of the families that have to process this before the holidays and I will help them in any way that I can. Here in the Mahoning Valley, we don’t stop fighting until we hear a final bell. We all have to stick together until March 1 to show GM why it would be a mistake for them to leave.”
Ohio Governor-elect Mike DeWine said he’s ready to make a case for Lordstown:
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.”
Ohio Lt. Governor-elect Jon Husted said the local workers “are the best at what they do”:
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.”
Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown said it’s “another devastating blow to our local economy”:
The hardworking men and women of the GM Lordstown plant have been the lifeblood of this community. GM’s decision to close the Lordstown plant will have a lasting effect on the entire Mahoning Valley. I remain committed to do everything within my role as mayor of the City of Youngstown to help the displaced General Motors employees.”
Just to be clear, GM never said the plant is closing. It said the Chevy Cruze will no longer be produced in Lordstown. Union leaders said they’re working on getting another vehicle in that plant.
Assembly plants in Ontario, Canada and Detroit, as well as propulsion plants in White Marsh, Maryland and Warren, Michigan, will also have no vehicle to make next year.