The effect of GM Lordstown is still being felt all across the Valley. On Thursday night, Lordstown teachers held a town hall rally, reassuring the more than 150 people there that they will not give up hope.
From the beginning of the rally, the message was clear — the people of Lordstown are not going away.
Local teachers, as well as members of the Ohio and American Federations of Teachers, were there to say this is far from over.
Janette McAndrew was one of the dozens of Lordstown teachers who showed up at the high school. Since GM announced it’s closing the plant, McAndrew said the local school district is bracing to lose a lot of money.
“We get about $800,000 every year from General Motors right now. That increases every year.”
That money may be gone soon but to McAndrew, it’s less about the finances and more about the impact the closure is having on her students.
“A little girl in my room said, ‘I think we found a new house. Well, it’s not in Ohio,’ and that’s what’s sad when you see other kids,” she said. “It makes me want to cry when I see how upset they get.”
Many other teachers, students and families shared their stories.
The keynote speaker was the head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten.
“We’re going to fight every single way we can get them to listen and to retrofit this plant rather than close this plant,” she said.
For Weingarten, this is personal. The summer of her senior year of college in 1979, she worked as an intern at GM Lordstown. She was laid off during the gas crisis of that year.
“Make the cars consumers want, nobody is telling GM to make cars consumers don’t want, but do it in Lordstown,” Weingarten said.
The Lordstown community will host a financial forum in February. They’ll discuss the effects the plant’s closure will have on state and local funding. That will be held on February 14 at 5 p.m. at the high school.