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Rally crowd calls on Trump to keep promise to halt GM, others from exporting jobs

Saturday, September 8, 2018

LORDSTOWN

When the General Motors Lordstown Complex hired Tommy Wolikow in July 2008, he assumed he would enjoy uninterrupted long-term financial stability, afford a comfortable home and retire as his father had after having worked there 42 years.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’m set,’” the Lordstown man recalled. “I bought my home with a sense of security, and I felt real comfortable in my situation.”

Things changed dramatically for Wolikow, however, when the 53-year-old assembly plant lost its third shift of about 1,500 workers in January 2017, largely because of a decline in sales of the Chevrolet Cruze, which is built there. Despite the bad news, Wolikow held out hope he would be recalled.

That has not panned out, though, and because his unemployment compensation has been exhausted, Wolikow has no source of income to help support his three daughters age 10, 6 and 8 months, he explained. As a result, Wolikow went back to school and earned degrees to be a truck driver and a diesel technician, a situation he said “forced my Plan B to become my Plan A.”

The laid-off autoworker shared his story during a “Promises Broken” Midwest Pickup Truck Tour rally Saturday morning at the United Auto Workers Local 1112 hall, 11471 Reuther Drive. Good Jobs Nation, a grass-roots organization, hosted the gathering, which also was livestreamed.

GJN seeks to hold all politicians accountable to American workers, in part by ensuring that taxpayer dollars are invested in corporations that create good-paying union jobs and not in those that outsource jobs, its mission statement says.

Wolikow also was among more than 100 people – many of whom voted for President Donald Trump – who have been or fear they will be laid off from GM as well as AT&T call centers in Youngstown who demanded that the president sign an executive order to stop GM and other corporations that receive lucrative federal contracts from shipping jobs overseas.

Read more about the event in Sunday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.