Transferred GM workers get chance to come home

By Burton Speakman


A call for new workers at General Motors in Lordstown will allow a number of employees transferred from the Valley throughout the country to come home.

As many as 110 displaced workers will be able to come home to the area. That’s a really good thing, said Glenn Johnson, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112 in Lordstown.

The expectation is the 110 jobs at the Lordstown plant will begin to be filled in January, he said.

“I can’t imagine what it’s been like to be removed from family,” Johnson said. The Lordstown plant has workers who have to travel 31/2 hours each way to see their family, he said.

The union is advertising the announcement throughout the company to determine how many workers want to come to Lordstown, Johnson said.

The company had relocated about 6,500 workers during the economic downturn, when GM plants were eliminating shifts and closing plants.

Kim Schwab, whose husband, Jeff, was among those transferred, said Friday that it was great news to learn the call for new jobs in Lordstown has been made.

“My husband had received a call from Ben Strickland [UAW 1112 shop chairman] a week or two ago stating there was going to be a call for jobs in early December,” Kim Schwab said. “I guess it just came a little early.”

Jeff Schwab was a 15-year veteran with Delphi Packard Electric when he learned he could lose his job in January 2008. The couple had bought a home in Niles four months earlier.

Schwab was given the choice of more than 40 GM plants to which he could accept a transfer. He provided 25 potential plant options to ensure he would keep his job. He initially was sent to St. Louis before being transferred again to Kansas City.

In addition to the Schwabs, The Vindicator interviewed several other workers in October who were anxious for a chance to transfer back to the Valley and work in Lordstown.

Most of the employees transferred from the Valley had worked for Delphi facilities that were closed or had severe downsizing. The employees at that point were willing to accept transfer to maintain employment with GM.

Johnson said he was not sure how many workers within the company, displaced or otherwise, had put in requests for transfers for the Lordstown plant.

Any of the 110 jobs that are not filled by workers already employed full-time by GM will be taken by individuals who are already working as temporary hires within the plant, he said.

“It’s good for the union to be able to add workers and for the community to have more people employed,” Johnson said.

Dave Green, president of UAW 1714 in Lordstown, said his union has some workers who have returned to their home plants, but 1714 was not posting any requests for new workers at this time.

The announcement of the new jobs at Lordstown comes at roughly the same time that GM announced it will pay eligible U.S. hourly workers bonus payments of $250 in their Dec. 7 paychecks.

There are about 44,000 U.S. hourly employees that are eligible for payments, according to a statement from GM spokesman Bill Grotz. The company will pay about $11 million in bonuses.

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