WASHINGTON (WKBN) – General Motors’ CEO met with Ohio lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday to talk about the future of the Lordstown auto plant, but things didn’t go very smoothly.
Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman said, at this point, the company’s plan to sell the plant to a lesser known electric car company won’t spur enough investment to help the thousands of workers who’ve been laid off.
So, the future of the shuttered Lordstown auto plant remains uncertain.
“We had a productive discussion,” said GM CEO Mary Barra.
“This is a sad story right now,” Portman said.
“We didn’t get answers to questions that we hope to see answered,” Brown said.
After an hour-long closed meeting, Portman and Brown remain at odds with Barra over the company’s plan to sell the Lordstown auto plant to Workhorse.
“It’s going to be tough for them to make the investment that we would like to see,” Portman said.
Portman said GM still can only promise roughly 400 jobs from the sale, a drop in the bucket compared to the almost 5,000 GM workers laid off over the past two years.
GM stopped production of the Chevy Cruze in Lordstown in March.
“I just think GM doesn’t really see the hardship this is causing for so, so, so many families,” Brown said.
The senators said they’re pleading with GM to use the plant to build a new fleet of GM electric cars instead, but GM still says “no thanks.”
“It is a lack of commitment by General Motors to a plant that has served them so well,” Portman said.
Both Portman and Brown said they will continue to fight for workers and are even in talks with other electric vehicle companies to consider other deals.
“When you have someone say it’s not looking good, it’s not a good meeting,” said Rep. Tim Ryan.
Ryan, who represents the Lordstown region, said the meeting was disappointing but that he wants to keep an open mind.
“At this point, we’ve got to just play the hand we’re dealt,” Ryan said.
Ryan said if the GM sale goes through, he will work to bring the small company federal dollars to help it grow.
“Again, maybe an upside with Workhorse, we’re going to work them,” he said.
Lawmakers said at this point, no future meetings are scheduled with GM.
The autoworkers’ union will decide if the deal goes through, with negotiations kicking off in September.