Without President Barack Obama pushing for the federal auto bailout, the industry would be out of business, devastating the economy, a group of local autoworkers said.
The $82 billion bailout in 2009 of General Motors and Chrysler didn’t just save those two American auto companies; it saved the jobs of workers at plants supplying vehicle parts, including Magna Intier Seating Systems, said Kevin Scott, who works for that company.
Magna, a short distance from GM’s Lordstown complex, sells seating parts for the Chevrolet Cruze.
“President Obama saving our auto industry and GM over there kept us working,” Scott said.
The plant went from 300 to 100 employees before the federal bailout, he said, and now is operating again with 300 workers, largely thanks to the auto rescue, Scott said.
“Every day, I thought the country is going to fail and the auto industry is going to fail,” he said, talking about his life before the bailout. “... Everyone was kind of hanging on the edge of their seats before the bailout.”
Scott, of Warren, spoke Friday outside Manga, where he’s worked since it opened eight years ago, at a “Made in Ohio” event, organized by Obama’s re-election campaign.
It was the last of six stops in Ohio communities with auto plants this week in an effort to drum up support for the president’s re-election in a key swing state.
The campaign of Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has criticized the bailout, saying Obama’s “mismanagement of the process cost the American taxpayers $23 billion.”
Romney supported a structured bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler.
Jim Graham, president of the United Auto Workers Local 1112 at the Lordstown GM complex, said Friday that Obama “had enough courage to support us, and that’s why we support President Obama.”
If GM went out of business, “the auto suppliers would have also gone down,” he said.
Elaine Price of Warren, a national Obama re-election campaign co-chairwoman, said her husband, who died last year, worked at the Lordstown GM plant.
About four years ago, “he told me things are getting rough and we have to readjust our lifestyle,” she said. “He had to prepare us for the life ahead.”
Price credited Obama with saving the American auto industry.