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Brown calls GM Cruze sure-fire ride|VIDEO

Published: Tue, May 12, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

A labor leader is optimistic that GM will add one or perhaps two shifts to Lordstown.



  Sherrod Brown UAW 1112

US Sen. Sherrod Brown visits UAW  Local 1112 headquarters in Lordstown and talks with UAW Local 1112 President Jim Graham.

US Sen. Sherrod Brown visits UAW Local 1112 headquarters in Lordstown and talks with UAW Local 1112 President Jim Graham.

NORTH JACKSON — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said he thinks General Motors will continue with plans to bring its new small car to Lordstown, even if it files for bankruptcy.

The Democrat from Avon Lake said Monday that he was assured the Chevrolet Cruze was still on track when he met last week with Fritz Henderson, GM chief executive.

“Even if GM goes into bankruptcy, I have no doubt they are going to build the Chevrolet Cruze here, and they will be hiring people,” Brown said.

Henderson told reporters on a conference call Monday that bankruptcy is becoming more probable.

The senator came to the union hall of United Auto Workers Local 1112 as part of his efforts to meet with people impacted by the recession.

Included were union officials, a plant executive, community leaders and a group of Delphi Packard Electric salaried retirees. Brown was headed to Chrysler’s stamping plant in Twinsburg after the meeting.

Jim Graham, president of UAW Local 1112, agreed with Brown’s assessment that the Cruze will bring more workers to the Lords-town plant — if the economy improves.

The plant has been trimmed to one shift of workers, but Graham said he thinks the Cruze will require two shifts or perhaps three.

“We fully expect when the economy upticks, we’ll be building a lot of cars in Lordstown,” he said.

The two UAW locals at Lordstown have 1,820 workers on the job and 2,650 laid off. Layoffs will go up by 150 at the fabricating plant when work on a new body shop at the plant is completed this summer, said Dave Green, president of Local 1714.

The UAW leaders said adding a second shift would bring back about 1,400 workers.

GM plans to launch the Cruze in April 2010.

Brown said he sees the high-mileage car as a key part of GM’s future but added that he is concerned that GM has indicated it will expand manufacturing in other countries while continuing to cut in the U.S.

Graham and Green told the senator they are concerned that this country isn’t doing enough to help its manufacturing base. They said better trade agreements are needed and more Buy America provisions in federal spending.

“We need a hero, or heroes, in Washington, D.C.,” Graham said.

The salaried retirees from Packard had a brief meeting with Brown and said they want their benefits protected as Packard’s parent company, Delphi Corp., meanders through a three-year-old bankruptcy case. Delphi recently received court approval to cancel health care benefits.

Bruce Gump of Howland, a former senior engineer at Packard, said the retirees can’t afford to pay for health care coverage through Delphi that can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 a month.

He said the entire community is hurt because the retirees cannot afford to go out to eat or to buy clothes because of the added health-care expense.

Brown listened to the comments by the retirees and said it was “pretty outrageous” how Congress has treated the auto companies who have asked for financial help when compared to treatment received by large banks.

He also added that he thought Congress will pass health care reform that would help people without insurance.



1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

Thank you Sentaor Brown for those good news. We need those Cruze to keep my union brothers employed. Now when will you & Congress pass legislation that guarantees and protects that GM won't use the Federal loans to expand production in China & Russia who also make the Cruze? That's what we need form Obama and the Democrat Congress. Otherwise, we have nothing in writing to guarantee these good paying GM Lordstown jobs.

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2cambridge(4066 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

On March 22 "Parade Magazine" the supplement to the Sunday newspaper printed the results to a National poll they ran in their "Feedback" column.The question was, "Does America still need Labor Unions?". The results were 92% yes. Unions in this country are actually gaining membership.

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3scrooge(563 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

cambridge - here's your answer to why union membership is increasing:
"The highest rate of unionization belonged to education, training and library workers, at 38.7 percent, according to the report, and government workers were about five times more likely to be union members than workers in the private sector, Reuters reports."

Teachers union and the Obama government welfare jobs creation will most likely account for the .3% increase in union membership

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4cambridge(4066 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

scrooge-What would account for the poll results?

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5DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

Unions are most certainly a necessary part of the labor sector of the United States. Make no mistake about that, let's think logically.
On the other hand, some unions have most certainly led to their industries decline over the last 3-4 decades, make no mistake about that either.

As far as using Parade Magazine as a reference on anything, I find that to be the scariest thing I have read here in several months.

People need to keep in mind that the government gave all that loot in the form of bailouts to certain industries becasue they believed they would be repaid. They were using calulated risks and due diligence (sounds strange coming from our government I know) to determine what sectors would get what funds. Certain firms, such as JP Morgan, have already begun paying back their loans. Is it feasible to believe the auto industry will ever be able to re-pay the loan? The current business model coupled with the last 2 decades of decline would suggest no.

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