Graham gets credit for Lordstown success, not blame for GM failures

In response to the ranting of a writer from Newton Falls last Sunday, take off your blinders and look around at our area.

While all around Ohio and the United States factories were closing or cutting back, our area was increasing employment at Lordstown. GM added about 900 new jobs and we have a new product that is a great quality car produced at a cost that allows GM to make money. The UAW, under Jim Graham’s leadership, has improved productivity and quality over the last six to seven years.

For the last 10 years, the membership at Lordstown has taken concessions by a membership vote. We are not management where changes are pushed down to you nor did we ignore the fact that GM was losing market share and in turn profits.

We agreed to no raises, no cost of living increase, reduced our holidays, changed retiree health care from GM to the UAW Health Care Trust for all retirees (which saved $20 billion for GM), agreed to a new hiring rate with a changed benefit structure for all new hires, changed work rules, combined skilled trades and the list goes on and on.

The writer blamed Jim Graham for the demise of Lordstown, but we are still here and stronger.

A bankruptcy is done by the directors of a company, not by a union president. Companies and individuals who cannot pay the debt they have created have a legal right to file for protection under the law to protect themselves from ceasing to exist. GM did all of that. But whether we agree or disagree with that action, it wasn’t due to Jim Graham’s leadership.

If you are a Delphi salary or hourly retiree, you have a right to be upset. You got shafted, but it wasn’t because of Jim Graham. Jim Graham has been involved with trying to help the Delphi situation for those of you who lost out because of the bankruptcy.

Jim Graham would be good for our area. He has led our union through financial times.

If you’re not working, your two hours per month union dues don’t come into the union. Jim has cut activities of our union, reduced the amount of union paid time off, laid off some of the secretaries and managed our treasury very well. He gets involved in problems and finds solutions to tough questions. He manages a large elected group of unionists, manages membership of 3,200 and growing, is involved with the running of our plant through Key 4 (Plant Manager, Comptroller, President of the UAW and Shop Chairman of the UAW) processes to upgrade the operations of the Lordstown Assembly plant.

Jim brings all that experience and leadership ability to the mayor’s office.

Bill Bowers, Warren

Bowers is retiree chairman of United Auto Workers Union Region 2B.