LORDSTOWN, Ohio – In one week, General Motors is set to close its Lordstown plant which thousands in the village have relied on for generations.
Mayor Arno Hill says he has served decades of public office in Lordstown. He believes the company could reverse its public declaration and keep doors open.
“There were 12,000 to 14,000 thousand people working there,” said Hill, about the plant’s peak. “It will be a blow to the economy here. It will be a blow to all the local businesses that rely on General Motors.”
Bradley David says he owns a small bathroom remodeling business. He says he has noticed a major shift in clients in just the past few months.
“Last year, my business was probably 85 to 90 percent GM people and I think I’ve got one or two left for this year,” said David.
Tuesday, the United Auto Workers Union sued General Motors claiming the company plan to close three auto plants violates the union’s labor contract. The lawsuit also seeks damages for employees including back wages.
In November, General Motors announced a decrease in its salaried workforce; the company said 6,000 hourly workers would lose their jobs or be reassigned to other facilities.
Mayor Hill says many families have already left the Lordstown plant, which produces the Chevy Cruze, in pursuit of jobs at other GM facilities. Yet, others who reside in the area say friends and family impacted who want to stay were forced to find jobs that do not pay as well as GM.
“They are searching for jobs, minimum wage. They at least started a little bit above minimum wage; now, they have to find at least minimum wage jobs to at least try to survive now,” said Sugeily Melendez.
Mayor Hill says he is hopeful for a last-minute change.
“We’re doing everything we can to stay positive until they say they’re definitely not coming back; we’re holding out hope they show up,” said the mayor.
He continued, “We’ve had a chance to harden ourselves just a little bit to realize the inevitable for right now but we’re not giving up hope. We still think there is a chance that GM will keep this plant facility going.”
Next Friday people in the area are asked to wear blue for “True Blue Friday” and take a photo for social media with the hashtag #SaveLordstown.