Home Money Lordstown General Motors plant to close in 2019, lose 1,600 jobs

Lordstown General Motors plant to close in 2019, lose 1,600 jobs

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Incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown spoke at Baker University Center Wednesday, Aug. 29 to students and faculty. Photo by Connor Perrett

A Lordstown car factory that employs more than 1,500 workers is shutting down next year as a result of poor car sales.

General Motors Co. announced last week that they would be unallocating, or closing, their Lordstown, Ohio plant by the end of 2019.

The Lordstown plant employs around 1,600 people in a town of only 3,272 residents. The plant is the sole producer of Chevrolet Cruze sedans, besides Chevrolet Cruze hatchbacks, which are made in Mexico.

“Unallocated” means that the plant will have nothing left to produce after it finishes its current production schedule in 2019. When production halts, GM will still own and maintain the facility, GM Communications Team Manager Cheryl McCarron said.

McCarron also outlined severance benefits employees could receive as a result of the plant’s closure. Hourly employees severance pay is outlined in the UAW-GM National Labor Agreement, and salaried employees are covered under GM policy, McCarron said.

The UAW-GM National Labor Agreement is a legal agreement between United Automobile Workers and GM that sets requirements on how the company operates. According to this document, hourly workers can receive a separation payment and other benefits, depending on their hourly pay rate and if they qualify for GM’s benefits.

The UAW-GM National Labor Agreement expires in September 2019 and will be renegotiated next year.

The Nov. 26 announcement came after GM cut the factory’s second shift in April, leaving workers with only one shift. The announcement details how closing the plants and restructuring the company could save GM $6 billion by the end of 2020.

The Chevrolet Cruze sold poorly in 2018, down nearly 80,000 sales from 2017. As such, GM plans to stop making Cruzes in Mexico starting early next year. The Mexican plant will make Chevrolet Blazers instead, and GM predicted that no jobs would be lost there because of the Cruze’s discontinuation.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown criticized GM for their decision in a press release published the same day as the announcement.

“The workers at Lordstown are the best at what they do, and it’s clear once again that GM doesn’t respect them,” Brown said. “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.”

President Donald Trump also commented on the closures in a Tweet thread from Nov. 27.

In an effort to save the Lordstown plant, Brown and Sen. Rob Portman (R) met with GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra on Wednesday.

“We have the best workers in the world in Ohio, and I’m proud of the workers at Lordstown,” Portman said before the meeting. “They have proven themselves time and again, and Senator Brown and I will continue to fight on their behalf. I look forward to continuing our engagement with GM. I hope the company sees the incredible potential in this plant, by keeping it open and bringing other production back to the Valley.”

Portman also suggested that GM start producing electric cars at the Lordstown plant instead of shutting it down. However, Barra said that while GM was trying to do the right thing, she couldn’t make any assurances.

Along with Lordstown, GM plants in Michigan, Maryland, and Ontario are set to stop production, or become unallocated, by the end of 2019.

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