Ohioans seeking change after recent string of layoffs

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AKRON, Ohio — Many northeast Ohio workers have recently been affected by layoffs. Saturday, those issues were addressed at a jobs hearing in Akron.

Michelle Colyar recently lost her well-paying job when GM idled the Lordstown plant, putting 1,400 people out of work.

“We were the number one car. I believe it’s greed. I believe it’s cheaper labor to make it in Mexico opposed to here in Ohio,” Colyar said.

Saturday afternoon a jobs hearing was held at the Firestone Park Christian Church in Akron.

Officials came to talk about what they call a “disturbing trend” of more jobs being outsourced and large companies dis-investing in their workforce and production.

Dave Green is the union president for local GM workers.  He said it’s getting harder for workers to compete globally with places like Mexico for good paying jobs in the U.S.

“The workers in Mexico make between a $1.50 and $3 an hour. There’s no parking lot. Those people are bused to work and they’re bused home because they can’t afford to buy the products they’re making,” Green said.

Green said Lordstown workers were making $30 an hour making the Chevy Cruze.

Despite workers in Mexico getting paid so little, the price of the Cruze remains the same.

“I think the only thing the company recognizes is money. So if that’s all they’re concerned about and they recognize that consumers have finally had enough. Consumers are going to want their neighbors to work and that they do care where their products are made. Then, consumers control all of the cards right now,” Green said.

Bill Meyer has been a copy editor at the Plain Dealer for 38 years.

Meyer and many of his union represented coworkers are being laid off, while many of their jobs are being outsourced.

“I believe that some of this is a deliberate union busting strategy,” Meyer said.

The group gathered Saturday said there are no easy solutions.

The UAW is suing GM to use the state money GM got to invest in the plant.

Meyer had his own suggestion.

“We can work together to encourage our representatives to pass labor friendly legislation,” Meyer said.

The jobs hearing was sponsored by Cleveland Jobs For Justice and the Ohio Poor Peoples Campaign.

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