It’s been all quiet on the western front at the GM Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant for some time. Slowly, but surely, the plant has scaled back its operations. The bustling plant that once ran three shifts to meet Chevrolet Cruze demand is down to a single shift.
The Vindicator reported Sunday that the community and the facility have now launched a “Drive It Home” campaign to underscore its importance. The new campaign mirrors the “Bring It Home” campaign launched at the end of the 1980s when the plant’s future was uncertain. Today, many employees feel like it’s the beginning of the end at Lordstown.
The most troublesome fact for locals? GM management won’t participate in the campaign. Drive It Home, which will see a community come together to support the manufacturing complex, is somewhat of a last-ditch effort to appeal to GM. CEO Mary Barra has met with both of Ohio’s senators, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, and would not commit to the plant’s future with either of them.
The local UAW has also penned a letter of distress to President Trump and asked for his help as many believe GM is prepared to pack up and shutter the GM Lordstown plant. Thus far, the president has not responded to the UAW’s distress letter.
Barra has also said it would cost more than $100 million to upgrade the plant’s paint shop and retool the assembly plant for SUV or crossover production. The lack of commitment has left locals worried about the local economy’s future.
Dave Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, said there’s a clear reason why the plant’s management won’t participate in the Drive It Home campaign—he believes their “marching orders” have come directly from Detroit. Managers were invited, but declined to participate.
Still, a handful of notable figures will appear on Monday as the campaign kicks off. Senator Brown, U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan, and Bill Johnson; Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill; Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber president and CEO James Dignan; and UAW’s Green will all try to grab GM’s attention.