UAW, GM push back on Trump notion to open, sell Lordstown plant
Spokesman says issue is between company, UAW
By Graig Graziosi
While President Donald Trump called on General Motors and the United Auto Workers members at the Lordstown Assembly Complex to “get it open” or sell the facility Wednesday, the president is unlikely to get his wish.
In a statement provided by GM on Thursday from Detroit, a spokesman said the company’s negotiations with the union will be dealt with solely between the two parties, regardless of the president’s urging.
“To be clear, under the terms of the UAW-GM National Agreement, the ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be resolved between GM and the UAW,” the spokesman said.
The idling of the Lords-town plant resulted in 1,500 layoffs. GM said is was primarily concerned with getting the laid-off employees back to work in other positions within the company.
The spokesman added: “We have received inquiries from interested parties related to the Lordstown Complex and the Chevrolet Cruze. We would consider any that are truly viable business opportunities.” But he gave no specifics.
The statement went on to say “our main focus remains on our employees and offering them jobs in our plants where we have growth opportunities. We have now placed over 1,000 employees from our unallocated plants to other GM locations, and we have opportunities available for virtually all impacted employees.”
The UAW also didn’t escape the president’s wrath. He called on the union to speed up the pace of contract discussions and curiously called on the union to lower its dues, despite dues being paid by the membership and not the company.
A UAW spokesman responded to the statements as well Thursday, saying, “First of all, corporations close plants; workers don’t. But we’ve said, and have repeatedly said, that we’ll leave no stone unturned to keep the plant open, and that’s our goal.”
Dave Green, president of UAW Local 1112, was the subject of Trump’s ire Sunday when the president told him to “stop complaining” and “get his act together.”
Green said this week he was happy for the attention the tweet brought to the Lordstown workers’ fight.
He went on to explain the membership decided last year to lower dues to the level they were in the 1960s once the union’s strike fund hits $850 million, which is expected shortly.
Union dues support the work of the union, including paying for worker salaries during strikes and political lobbying in support of organized labor, he said.