Three soon to be laid-off GM Lordstown workers watched President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address with First News Anchor Stan Boney Tuesday night.
President Trump called for unity as he delivered his address to the House of Representatives. He is currently in a showdown with Democrats over border wall funding.
United Auto Workers Local 1112 members Jeremy Ladd, Matt Morehead and Tiffany King discussed their thoughts with Boney.
King was on the panel of UAW members who met with Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown two weeks ago.
“I wasn’t impressed at all. I felt that there were more issues that could have been talked about, especially with the economy and locally, GM and what we’re going through, and he didn’t bring that up,” King said.
Morehead was disappointed that the president never brought up GM or the auto industry.
“He came out in November and said that he expected something to go there and then in the SOTU he had the perfect opportunity and didn’t even mention us,” he said.
Ladd said he didn’t agree at all when the president talked about the economy, saying America was “the envy of the world.”
“I actually don’t think that China or Mexico right now are envious at all. I think that their economies are pretty powerful. I think that they’re just going to continue to do what they’re doing and I think we’re going to continue to get weaker,” he said.
Regarding the border wall, Morehead had a different opinion about Mexico than President Trump.
“I’m not concerned about migrant workers who have been traveling or people that have nothing and want the American dream. I’m concerned about the actual Mexican nationals that are taking our jobs away from us,” he said.
Morehead also mentioned that there was no reason why the Chevrolet Blazer could not be built locally, saying, “We could have done it just as easily as any plant in the county.”
Ladd was also disappointed that the president didn’t talk about one of his tax cuts.
“He brought up NAFTA. I was hoping he was going to… acknowledge that the tax cut he gave is actually outsourcing jobs, that he would want to fix that, but he failed to mention that,” he said.
Their reaction was not all negative though, Morehead and Ladd said they were pleased with the way President Trump honored veterans.
All three worked at GM Lordstown for 23 years and say they will continue living in the area, hoping the plant will reopen once again.
UAW President Gary Jones released the following statement after President Trump’s speech ended.
“Tonight’s speech is an important reminder that there is much to do for the American worker and their families. UAW Local Presidents from Lordstown, OH Local 1112 and Warren, MI Local 909 are in House Chambers as symbolic reminders of the failure of trade and industrial policies in our Nation. The dignity of work — of a good job with living wages and benefits, is not a partisan issue.
If there is hope for finding common ground in Washington let it be progress for the workers in Lordstown, Detroit and Baltimore and all over this Nation who have watched their job hopes disappear into the great profit abyss of Wall Street. Wages for autoworkers have had a twenty five percent pay cut in recent decades. This must change. Let us restore the American worker as a priority in the laws, trade agreements and the underlying values we cherish. Our challenge is to restore the American Dream. Because American workers have invested in America and now they look to Washington to invest in US!”