GM Lordstown, UAW chiefs stay mum about ‘good news’ to be revealed today
By Burton Speakman
The only thing truly known about the expected Chevrolet Cruze announcement today is that there is going to be one.
United Auto Workers Local 1112 has scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m. at the union hall.
Glenn Johnson, president of UAW 1112, said he and Dave Green, president of UAW 1714, would speak. Neither would provide additional comments.
A source from the union said Tuesday that “good news” would be announced today.
Indeed, today will be a big day for the Lordstown plant and the auto industry in Northeast Ohio, said Jay Williams, deputy director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs within President Barack Obama’s administration.
Williams said he was going to respect the wishes of General Motors and not speak specifically about what will be announced.
Managers and union workers at the plant “have done a great job producing a quality vehicle,” he said.
“These opportunities wouldn’t be here without the decision of the president to bail out the auto industry,” Williams said. “That decision helped to save and create thousands of jobs.”
There will be no event at the assembly plant in Lordstown, however, despite the confirmation by multiple political representatives earlier this week that they had been invited to such an event today.
Tom Mock, plant spokesman, denied any event had been scheduled Tuesday and did not return requests for comments Wednesday.
The expectation is the press conference will announce a new version of the Cruze.
The current Cruze model is scheduled for production by GM through 2014. The company has not stated at this point what will happen with the Cruze after that date.
GM will retain jobs at the plant, and the company’s additional investment will be less than the $350 million pledged in 2008 for the current Cruze, according to a Detroit News story.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office could not provide additional information on what would be announced Thursday, but the senator did provide a comment about the state’s auto industry.
“We know how to make things in Ohio, and our state’s workers have been vital to the American auto industry’s continued growth. If the naysayers had let this industry — including General Motors — fail, today we might be hearing about layoffs and the closure of small and midsized part makers throughout the supply chain,” Brown said.
“Instead, Ohio has reaped the benefits of expanded investments and new jobs. I will continue working with GM and the rest of the automakers to bring new product lines and investments to our state,” he added.
Plans previously announced by GM for augmentations to the Cruze included a diesel version, a hatchback version and a station wagon.
The Lordstown plant employs about 4,500 workers on three shifts.
More Cruzes are sold than any other small car made by GM. It also is among the best-selling vehicles produced by the company.