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The GM plant in Lordstown is gone, despite Trump's promises



The president introduced himself in 2016 as a workers' lifesaver, taking the unusual course of public pressure on corporations like Carrier to change their plans to relocate or change production. But despite monthly demands, Trump failed to get GM to keep jobs in Lordstown.
Trump zeroed in on the Ohio plant because of his promise to working-class voters that he would revive American manufacturing while retaining jobs in the United States. With that promise, Trump won Ohio and handled voters in the Mahoning Valley – the key to securing the 2016 election.

In 2017, Trump went to Youngstown, 15 miles down the road from the Lordstown plant, and promised to residents that jobs will return to the region, telling the crowd, "Don't move. Don't sell your house."

GM worker Ernie Long heard this speech while still at the plant in Lordstown.

"He said don't sell your house, and look, now I have to sell my house I just built three years ago," said Long, who has been in the factory for 1

1 years. He is still a member of his union, Local 1112, but is injured and is not currently working.

Lordstown, which makes the Cruze sedan, closed on March 6, leaving 1600 without work. GM says it has relocated 1,300 hourly employees, but some have moved in the hope that their old plant will reopen under a new alliance agreement with GM. However, the deal reached this week does not include provisions for this.

"So many people left the community thinking, do you know what? Our union is strong and our union will bring us back one day to work in Lordstown," says Tommy Ulikov, a former Lordstown worker. "To hear this news that we may not be getting another General Motors product, it's just detrimental."

Administration officials announced the end of the GM strike on Thursday, circumventing the Lordstown issue. White House Commerce and Production Policy Director Peter Navarro told CNN Thursday that the agreement "will improve the lives of working men and women across the Midwest and beyond, where the supply chain extends."

"It is important to get this (agreement) right for both parties and I think they did it. They did a great job, "he said.

Lordstown is one of four genetically modified plants that will be closed by the end of 2020. The preliminary agreement saves only one, a plant in Detroit.

"It is sad that with this agreement, three of these four facilities will be closed," the union's summary of the terms of the deal said.

Manufacturing activity in September fell to its lowest point in a decade. The rust belts of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, which Trump reversed, have all lost their jobs since June. Many of these jobs have moved abroad. GM has moved jobs and product lines to Mexico over the last decade because of lower production costs.

"GM is committed to future investment and job growth in Ohio," GM said in a statement. "Projects planned for the Mahoning Valley include the ability to bring battery production into the area, which would create approximately 1,000 jobs."

But Trump is specific to the Lordstown plant itself.

"I want jobs to stay in the US and I want Lordstown (Ohio), one of the best economies in our history, opened or sold to a company that will open it fast!" Trump tweeted in March shortly before the prison closed.

He also called GM CEO Mary Barra to discuss Lordstown.

"I just spoke with Mary Bara, CEO of General Motors for the Lordstown plant in Ohio. I'm not happy that it is closed when everything else in our country is BUMI," Trump said in a tweet on March . "I asked her to sell it or do something fast. She blamed the UAW Union – I don't care, I just want it open!"

Navarro cited the battery plant as an encouraging sign, and the administration said he said "GM will do everything it can to make the Workhorse Group plan to produce EV pickups at the Lordstown facility at UAW's success. "


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