Since the announcement that the General Motors Lordstown plant would shut down, CEO Mary Barra hasn’t said much. But on Friday, after announcing a major investment at a GM plant near Detroit, she talked to reporters and answered some questions about the future of the Lordstown plant.
For months, leaders in Ohio have pleaded their case to Barra on why GM should give the Lordstown plant a new vehicle. She wanted to address some of the media pressure surrounding her decision to shut down the plant.
“Let me touch on Ohio for a moment, since our presence there has been in the news recently,” she said.
Barra spoke out for the first time since the presidential pummeling on social media.
“We still have 4,000 jobs, and 4,000 employees and four additional Ohio plants,” she said.
On Friday, she said an assembly plant near Detroit will be getting a new electric vehicle, 400 new jobs and a $300 million investment.
GM originally planned to make that electric vehicle overseas but because of the workforce in the states and the newly-revised NAFTA agreement, it will be made at the Michigan plant instead.
Barra said the reason for not making the electric vehicle in Lordstown is that Detroit has a better common base from an architectural perspective.
Still, she wants the 1,400 laid off workers in Lordstown to stay within the GM family.
“Now we’re focused on the people of Lordstown, making sure they have opportunities because we do have jobs,” Barra said.
She also talked about the effects of GM leaving Lordstown and the next steps.
“We understand there’s an impact to the community as well. It’s work we’re still doing and, of course, we will be working with the UAW because it’s part of our contract,” she said.
UAW Local 1112 and GM have until mid-September before the contract expires. They plan to start negotiations this summer.