Charities such as the United Way often depend on donations from working-class community members and the companies that employ them. In the Lordstown, Ohio area, where General Motors operated the Lordstown factory, things were no different. GM will continue to donate to both the United Way of Trumbull Country and United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley through 2020 even with the future of the Lordstown factory uncertain, according to The Tribune Chronicle.
Bob Hannon, president of United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, said in an interview with The Tribune Chronicle he expects GM to donate about $200,000. In 2018, the factory contributed $100,00, including a corporate match from General Motors. In 2017, the last year when three shifts operated at the factory, United Way received about $240,000, which has decreased as GM cut shifts.
Lordstown workers have been a reliable source of United Way donations. Over the last 10 years, Lordstown employees donated nearly $1 million to the United Way of Trumbull Country with GM proving an additional $475,561, according to the Tribune Chronicle. However, with the future of Lordstown uncertain, future United Way funding is up in the air.
Since the new year, after General Motors announced it would “unallcoate” Lordstown leading up to contract negations with the United Auto Workers union, donates have fallen to about $12,000 so far. Once GM ends its contributions after 2020, the local United Way charities could face shortfalls in both financial donations and volunteers.
But people like Hannon aren’t giving up. He’s working with local UAW 1112 president Dave Green to continue the relationship between the two while finding ways to get affected Lordstown employees back to work, too. The Lordstown plant, which ceased production fo the Chevrolet Cruze last week and is continuing some stamping operations that’ll end later this month, may have a future depending on contract negotiators later this year. GM is keeping the factory in a “state of readiness;” however, it’s unlikely the automaker will return anytime soon, so this move could hint at GM keeping the facility clean for a potential buyer.