The “Drive It Home” campaign starts Monday. It’s a group effort to urge General Motors and let them know Lordstown has been a great place to do business for 52 years.
The Valley is starting another campaign, asking GM to grow its investment again.
The Chevy Cruze being built in the Mahoning Valley is a source of pride — many of us tell our out-of-town friends. But we also struggle, watching sales slow and jobs get cut.
“We definitely want to increase capacity,” said James Dignan, president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. “Right now, one shift — that’s not efficient.”
Drive It Home is an awareness and education campaign that could grow into more.
The “Bring It Home” campaign nearly 20 years ago convinced GM to start production of the Cobalt here. The hope is that another unifying campaign could catch GM’s eyes again.
“Is an SUV the answer? Is an electric car the answer? I know that we need something in addition to one small car,” said Dave Green, president of UAW 1112.
Two shifts have been eliminated at GM Lordstown over the past year-and-a-half but the remaining workers still support four to five jobs indirectly.
“The parts suppliers go throughout the entire state. There’s a whole network of parts suppliers impacted by everything we do every day,” Green said.
The campaign will focus on making sure the whole state and GM recognizes the importance of building a world-class car right here.
“Here is something they should be looking at and if they want to make further investments in their production facilities in North America, that this should be a site that they look at,” Dignan said.
The Lordstown plant is in a prime location near the turnpike and has plenty of room to expand. Plus, Ohio allows testing of autonomous vehicles.
GM has four other plants that produce just one vehicle.
Drive It Home could become an important fight. Everyone in the Valley will be asked to join the team and support it.
“We’re a bunch of fighters around here. We get knocked down and we get back up. Nobody in this Valley wants a handout. We want work,” Green said.
Drive It Home is not just about the UAW workers. It’s to share the story of the Valley and all of the benefits we have and can provide.