WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Veteran Wheatland Tube employee Tom Smith will be in Youngstown Tuesday during President Donald Trump’s rally, but he doesn’t plan to be inside the Covelli Centre.
Smith will be down the street, outside with protesters.
“Pretty much trying to let him know that we’re not happy with the way things are going here in the Valley,” he said.
Smith voted for Bernie Sanders last November, complaining now that the new president isn’t living up to his campaign promises of jobs and economic growth.
“Since he’s taken office, all we’ve noticed is we’ve lost the third shift at Lordstown. There’s not a great movement on jobs in the area,” he said.
In January, General Motors Lordstown Complex suspended the third shift of production, citing a shift from smaller cars to larger vehicles due to cheaper gas and oil prices.
Smith was one of a number of steelworkers applauding Senator Sherrod Brown on Monday morning. Brown was touting a new bill to require domestic goods and services whenever tax dollars are being used to pay for them.
“I want to see the president endorse the Brown-Portman ‘Made in America’ bill, that will help get it through the Congress. He is the president, and people will listen to him in Congress,” Brown said.
The president has publicly encouraged a “buy American, hire American” philosophy, but Brown argues that Wall Street still has too much of an influence. Smith hopes President Trump will support the bill, but he isn’t holding his breath.
“He also has his ties made in China, and there’s a good reason for that — because it’s easier and he makes more money — and that’s the bottom line. He’s gonna do what makes more money,” Smith said.
Tim Feeney, Wheatland Tube’s general manager, said Brown’s bill would help Wheatland Tube and its 300 employees.
“Because, you know, its focus is on the issues of controlling, developing a level playing field for manufacturing,” Feeney said.
Protesters say they would like to hear from the president Tuesday evening on the subject.
Trump’s speech starts at 7 p.m. at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown.
If you can’t get tickets for the event, you can watch President Trump’s speech live on Tuesday night. It will be streamed on WKBN.com and broadcast from the Covelli Centre on MyYTV.