Local lawmakers react to GM tentative agreement and future of Lordstown

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Talk has also emerged about a battery plant, which could potentially be the largest in North America

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – GM Lordstown learned of their unallocated status last November and the assembly plant closed in March. Now, as details emerged on the potential tentative agreement, local lawmakers shared what’s next.

“Regarding this tentative agreement, as we understand, there’s nothing in there for Lordstown,” said Representative Mike O’Brien.

Hundreds of people have already transferred away. Millions of dollars in wages have been lost from this area and millions more have been lost in taxes.

“I’m personally disappointed. We have no commitment, no hardcore commitment from General Motors.” said Representative Gil Blair.

UAW workers remain on strike and wait to hear more. Lawmakers who have been working behind the scenes don’t like what negotiations have possibly put on paper.

“We’re very disappointed with what we’re hearing today, but we’re going to continue to fight for getting a product in there. Whether it’s Workhorse or something else, we’re all committed to doing that,” said Senator Sean O’Brien.

Senator O’Brien said there is a commitment from GM to work with Workhorse on an electric vehicle called Endurance. That project still needs to collect $300 million in financing.

“We’ve worked every day on all fronts to have the new GM product here and also to have a back-up plan in place,” Blair said.

Talk has also emerged about a battery plant, which could potentially be the largest in North America and a push toward the future.

GM discussed the battery plant in the following statement about plans for Ohio:

GM is committed to future investment and job growth in the state of Ohio.

Projects planned for the Mahoning Valley include the opportunity to bring battery cell production to the area, which would create approximately 1,000 manufacturing jobs, as well as the sale of the GM Lordstown Complex to Lordstown Motors Corp, a new company that plans to build electric pickups for commercial fleet customers. Lordstown Motors Corp plans to create 400 manufacturing jobs initially.

These two initiatives are not covered under the proposed tentative agreement reached between the parties.

All of the other Ohio manufacturing initiatives that GM announced in May 2019, including $700 million in new investment for the company’s facilities in Parma, Toledo and the Dayton-area remain on track. These projects are expected to create more than 450 manufacturing jobs.

“We don’t want to lead the public to believe that the battery plan is imminent, and again we’re already in competition,” Rep. O’Brien said.

That competition is coming from two states.

The possible local location has already been picked, but nobody is saying exactly where it would be.

Senator Sherrod Brown said he knows how much is at stake for workers in this contract and wants GM to do the right thing.

“I also know that ten years ago, tax payers saved this company and workers in Lordstown, 4,500 strong in those days, did major givebacks to the bargaining table to keep GM alive. Then, we know GM made $36 billion in the last three years and in the midst of closing down Lordstown. reallocating, they moved more production to Mexico,” Brown said.

Congressman Tim Ryan also opened up about the possible agreement in the following statement:

GM has been a part of our community for over half a century. Generations of Northeast Ohioans have worked at the Lordstown plant, and every person in our community has a connection to GM Lordstown. It’s why today’s decision from GM to leave the community is so devastating and reopens wounds from their first announcement in November 2018. After nearly a year of urging CEO Mary Barra to bring a new product to the plant, GM has turned its back on the very people who worked to make this company what it is today—the same people who bailed GM out when they were on the verge of bankruptcy. President Trump came to Youngstown and told us not to sell our homes – but where is he now?

Throughout the strike and negotiations, I’ve been in close contact with UAW officials and have stood with workers on the picket-line in Lordstown and at plants across the Midwest.  While I support bringing an end to this strike and getting our workers back on the job, it’s a sad day in the Valley. I will continue to fight to make the best of a tragic situation by getting Lordstown back up and running with a new occupant to bring high-paying jobs to Northeast Ohio.

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