GM shareholder decries idling of Lordstown plant
I have been an individ- ual shareholder in General Motors since graduating college in 2014. I believe GM is a great company with great people and products that should prove to be a good investment over the long term.
As an investor, I certainly don’t want GM building cars consumers don’t want; it’s that kind of thinking that helped drive them into bankruptcy in 2009. However, I am deeply troubled by Monday’s announced job cuts, particularly the implication that the Lordstown plant, an anchor employer in Ohio, will shutter. Now, GM CEO Mary Barra is right to optimize the business when times are good rather than wait for crisis, and the times are very good.
GM profits, operating margins, and free cash flow should post near record results in 2018, and last quarter, management said the company will meet or beat the top end of guidance. Over the past 12 months, GM has delivered a return on invested capital of 25.6 percent. In this low-interest rate world, where else can you earn that rate? GM should be investing more not less in its physical and human capital considering the returns they generate.
That is why the decision to shrink and savage the lives of its workers in Lordstown and elsewhere in America is so disturbing. With a booming line of pick-ups and ramping autonomous-vehicle unit, GM Cruze, GM has the ability to today commit to moving production to these factories to save critical jobs and produce more of the vehicles Americans love.
With a great dividend and strong operating results, we long-term investors are doing just fine. Rather than try to engineer a pop for short-term Wall Street traders, GM owes fairness to all its stakeholders, including its employees, particularly in areas where it is a dominant employer.
GM should move production to protect American plants. If Mary Barra won’t do this, President Trump should act on behalf of American autoworkers by putting tariffs on completed imported European and Japanese cars, which will help the Big Three regain market share and force GM to keep plants open to meet demand.
I hope Mary Barra will do the right thing. If she does, and the stock drops, she should know investors like me will be there to buy shares in support.
Scott Ruesterholz, New York, N.Y
Anti-fracking editorial deceives, scares public
For years, The Vindi- cator’s editorial attack dog, Bertram de Souza, has polluted the local print media monopoly with his toxic opinions. The editorial of Nov. 18 is among the worst of the worst. Not content with merely a hate-filled castigation of local advocates seeking a clean and healthy environment as “self-appointed paragons of environmental virtues” who allegedly abuse the electoral process and maliciously attempt to deceive the public with scare tactics, the editorial launches into a vicious ad hominem assault upon Susie Beiersdorfer, the courageous co-founder of FrackFree Mahoning Valley, who recently suffered the loss of her widely cherished husband and equally outspoken environmentalist, Dr. Ray.
The editorial claimed she and “her cohorts” should be ashamed of themselves for their prophetic action in defending the endangered environment. No, the shame lies entirely with this loathsome editorial.
Within a week of its publication, the U.S. government came out with a devastating report about the dire dangers posed by ongoing climate change, especially for the Midwest, which is projected to suffer the largest increases in extreme temperatures unless radical changes in environmental protection are implemented immediately.
Along with increased wildfires and superstorms, an estimated loss of hundreds of billions of dollars and some 2,000 premature deaths per year are projected for America’s future. Those patriots who valiantly persist in protecting us all against this vile prospect deserve our praise; and those fools who define such existential threats as scare tactics richly deserve our condemnation.
Werner Lange, Newton Falls
GM Lordstown has risen from adversity in the past
As an ex-employee of GM’s Lordstown plant who retired after 30 years of service, I felt compelled to write this letter, heartsick over GM’s proposed closing of Lordstown.
I have family and many friends who still work at the assembly and fab plants, as well as at the satellite seat plant, not to mention those who work in the chain of suppliers for the plants. During the 30 years I worked at the GM assembly plant from 1968 to 1998, there were several times when the winds would blow with the threat of the plant closing.
But due to the intelligent leadership of the UAW with management and the powers to be in Detroit, plus certain politicians in play at the time, all the workers, management and union, showed the leadership in Detroit that this plant was viable, hardworking, and could deliver the kind of quality that the public demanded in its cars.
We always came through, and with the grace of God, and the continued hard work and leadership that Lordstown has displayed over the years, we can pull through this low point as well. However, we don’t need political hacks coming to the Lordstown plant spewing hatred toward GM when we need to continue showing a positive climate toward Mary Barra, CEO of GM, no matter how heavy our hearts are.
I say our, because my heart, as well as the people of our Valley share your tears and heartache, as we are all affected, either directly or indirectly. Our president was also blindsided by this announcement, as could be seen by his reaction on the news.
Now, he can show his anger toward GM, because he gave them large tax cuts to keep our plants in this country open.
He can show how mad he is, because he has the power to make things tough for GM if they don’t do something to bring another product to Lordstown.
What we don’t need is a Tim Ryan playing partisan politics, always bashing the president. If he was smart and had the interests of the people involved with the possible, and I say possible, shutdown at Lordstown, he would go to the president and say let’s work together to keep Lordstown open, and set our political differences aside. Any bets on him doing that?
God bless all involved in this pending tragedy. Keep praying and try to be positive, as difficult as it may be.
Robert DeFelice, Poland
Volunteer, help others in Christmas season
I believe the Christ- mas spirit in the Mahoning Valley continues to celebrate the birth of Christ by helping to provide for those in need and less fortunate.
Gifts that don’t require bows, ribbons or wrapping paper are given by those who volunteer their time, pay visits to those alone, donate money to feed the hungry, make phone calls, write letters, send greeting cards and hugs and kisses always elevate the human spirit.
For those Americans who are divided, if they become united there would be more harmony and strength in our country. Division not only weakens and cheapens our values, it also stunts our country’s growth.
If the holiday spirit in the U.S.A. continues, life in our beautiful country would be “looking good.”
Hopefully the winter cold won’t chill people’s kindness, thoughtfulness, helpfulness, and remember that laughter is medicinal, so stay jolly. Listen for that ho, ho, ho; it’s always good for a belly laugh.
When people learn to collect their thoughts, use their heartfelt feelings , search for the goodness in their souls, no store bought gift is greater.
Remember America first, always keep our beautiful red, white, and blue flag waving.
God Bless America and my American family.
Mary Lou Jurina, Youngstown