UAW upset with fender import at GM Lordstown
By Kalea Hall
A broken press that makes fenders for the Chevrolet Cruze at the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex led to the cancellation of the second shift at the East Plant on Friday.
The United Autoworkers was upset to hear the company shipped in fenders from Mexico because of the issue, a union source said.
The United Autoworkers Local 1112 represents the 3,000 workers at the assembly complex that will go down to one shift of production in mid-June, which will lead to an expected 1,500 layoffs at the plant.
The union source told The Vindicator on Friday that the union protested the move by the automaker to bring in 800 fenders from Mexico for the Cruze because the press is broken.
The union has been upset with the company’s maintenance practices for a long time and “now it’s costing members work,” the source said.
A company source confirmed Friday that there was an equipment issue that impacted production and that normal production would resume on Monday.
The last day for the two-shift operation at GM Lords-town is June 15.
The loss of the second shift is a result of slowing demand for the Cruze, a compact car.
In March, the Cruze saw 11 consecutive months of sales declines as consumers have shifted their focus toward crossovers, sport utility vehicles and trucks.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said Friday he spoke directly with GM CEO Mary Barra about the loss of the second shift.
“I expressed my deep disappointment in GM’s decision to lay-off workers, but I came away from the conversation confident GM Lordstown will continue to play an important role in the company’s long-term success,” Ryan said in a statement. “Barra reiterated that GM has invested more than half a billion dollars into Lordstown [during] the past 10 years, and I expressed my desire to work cooperatively with GM to ensure further investments are made.”
Last year, the third shift at GM Lordstown was cut and the plant saw more than 10 down production weeks.
The loss of the second shift will impact not only GM Lordstown workers, but also workers at local supporting plants. Source Providers will lose about 150 jobs because of the second-shift elimination at General Motors Lordstown. Source Providers, a subsidiary of Comprehensive Logistics in Austintown, does logistics and warehousing for the Lordstown Assembly Complex. Lordstown Seating Systems, which makes seats for the Cruze, announced it would cut 83 jobs in June.