Barra offers little hope to Valley officials on survival of Lordstown plant

Staff report


The future of the Lordstown General Motors complex didn’t get a boost coming out of the Detroit Auto Show with company CEO Mary Barra offering little hope that a new vehicle will be assigned here.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine met for about 45 minutes Thursday in Detroit with Barra and other GM executives, but failed to get a commitment that the automaker will keep its Lordstown plant open after production of the Chevrolet Cruze ends in March. The facility employs about 1,500 workers.

But DeWine, who was sworn in as governor Monday and traveled to Detroit, noted that Barra pledged to work with his administration regardless of what decision is made.

“My preference was she keep Lordstown open with a new product,” DeWine told The Vindicator Thursday. “We’re going to do absolutely everything we can to work with GM.”

While in Detroit, DeWine also met with Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill; James Dignan, president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber; Dave Green, United Auto Workers Local 1112 union president; and others from the Valley who were there as part of the Drive It Home Ohio campaign to save the Lordstown plant.

DeWine said he reassured the Valley leaders that his administration will work closely with them on the future of the assembly complex in Lordstown.

Dignan and Green, on behalf of the Drive It Home Ohio campaign, sent a letter Thursday to Barra after her meeting with the governor.

The letter reads: “We thank you for meeting with Gov. Mike DeWine. The entire community has come together to work with General Motors to keep the Lordstown facility open. We have the hardest working, most productive people on the planet ready to help General Motors make the vehicles of the future.

Saying they were hopeful of “ongoing conversation,” between all parties, Dignan and Green noted the legacy between General Motors and the Valley.

Meanwhile, Green will be U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s guest for the State of the Union address, which is supposed to be given Jan. 29, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked the president to postpone it.

The Free Press reported Thursday: “Barra offered little hope Wednesday night to employees at Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown assembly plants that new vehicles will be assigned to the plants to keep them running.”

Also, there will be a candlelight vigil at 4:30 p.m. today in Detroit by UAW members from the four plants GM plans to idle this year.

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