Energy center donates $15K; UAW chief blasts GM ads


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SEE ALSO: Mahoning commissioners join Lordstown "fight"

By GRAIG GRAZIOSI

ggraziosi@vindy.com

LORDSTOWN

UAW 1112 president Dave Green shares his thoughts on GM's marketing of the Chevy Cruze

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Dave Green, United Auto Workers Local 1112 president, aired his thoughts Friday on General Motors’ “Join our family” commercials and the continued production of the Cruze in South America after the Lordstown Energy Center donated $15,000 to the “Drive It Home” campaign.

The Lordstown Energy Center, a power plant in the village, donated $15,000 to the “Drive It Home” campaign in a show of solidarity with the workers and families of those impacted by GM’s Nov. 26 announcement it planned to idle the GM Lordstown assembly plant in March.

Drew Schneider, a plant manager at LEC, said the company wanted to help support the village’s infrastructure by investing in the Lordstown workers.

James Dignan, president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, said the donation was exactly the kind of partnership the Drive It Home campaign was created to foster.

He said the money would go initially toward simple organizing tools such as yard signs, but eventually he wanted to hire a marketing team to manage the campaign.

Dignan said the chamber is considering taking the campaign on the road on a tour of the regions impacted by the closures.

“There are a lot of communities that will be impacted by these closings,” Dignan said. “We want to keep Lordstown in contention for GM’s next product, so we want to spread the word about this plant.”

Green praised LEC for its donation, calling company officials “responsible corporate citizens” for the support they’ve shown for the workers and the campaign.

He was less complimentary, however, to GM’s national marketing campaign, in particular a prominently aired commercial promoting a deal where prospective car buyers can receive a price reduction equal to a GM worker’s employee discount.

In the ad, individuals welcome the viewer to join the “Chevy family.”

“It’s marketing. I think they’re trying to offset the negative reaction the announcement they made has,” he said adding many view it as “tone deaf” considering the situations that many actual Chevy families in the Mahoning Valley find themselves in with weeks to go before the Lordstown plant is idled.

The company put out another ad depicting a young husband who purchased two new GMC vehicles – a pickup truck and SUV – for himself and his wife, which suggests the company’s marketing team might be out of touch with the financial realities of many families, he added.

He places a lot of blame for the plant’s current situation on the shoulders of GM’s marketing decisions.

“It’s like Apple. They push certain products, and so does GM. The [Chevrolet] Cruze is a good car, but they haven’t pushed the product at all outside our local markets,” Green said.

According to recent reports, Green isn’t wrong. Cruze production will continue in Rosario, Argentina, for the South American market and may continue in GM’s Shanghai, China, plant as well.

Casey Waldorf, a union member and an employee at GM the last 18 years, said he had no intentions to transfer to a new plant and that he intended to stay and fight alongside Green.

“I’m not going anywhere, I’m going to stay and fight with the president,” Waldorf said. “Until the very end.”

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