Let’s bring GM Lordstown home

We appear to be at a very significant point once again, in terms of history repeating itself at GM Lordstown. Nearly 20 years ago, the Regional Chamber worked with the plant’s management team and UAW Locals 1714 and 1112 to rally the entire community to support the jointly created “Bring It Home” campaign. The effort was designed to demonstrate to top GM officials the Mahoning Valley’s willingness to do whatever necessary to ensure that the Lordstown facility became an asset, rather than a deficit, on the company’s balance sheet.

“Bring It Home” was an exciting initiative that garnered the support of our entire community. Businesses across the Valley took part by hanging banners and posters for the initiative, and communication levels grew sky high as residents joined in. GM officials took note of our unified voice and spirit and awarded the plant production of the Chevy Cobalt, later followed by the Cruze.

Given what’s happening today at GM Lordstown, with the loss of two shifts in the last year-and-a-half, it seems an appropriate time for the Youngstown-Warren region and state of Ohio to again rally to support, encourage and assist GM’s leadership in reutilizing those shifts and the physical assets the plant offers. We have an available workforce that is at the ready to fill those opportunities – and the spinoff jobs that support auto production – and a community that is proud to be the home of GM Lordstown and the cars that have rolled off its line for the past 52 years.

The downsizing of jobs that is occurring at GM Lordstown is causing emotions to run high, but we must maintain a positive approach and ask what we can do to influence a positive decision on the plant’s future. Let’s not say, “We can’t,” but rather, “What can we do?”

We most certainly can work together to help make GM Lordstown an even more valuable asset than it is today. It is time to “Bring It Home” once more.

Tom Humphries is the recently retired president and chief executive officer of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

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