Trump Rebukes Common Motors and Union Over Idling of Lordstown Plant
President Trump entered workplace berating Detroit automakers for closing crops and sending jobs overseas. With one other election on the horizon, he has renewed the assault.
Mr. Trump took to Twitter on Monday to demand that Common Motors reopen a automotive plant in Ohio, a state that would play a pivotal position in his 2020 re-election marketing campaign.
The president additionally criticized the United Auto Employees union and touted investments in the USA by Toyota and different overseas automotive firms.
G.M. stated in November that it might idle its manufacturing unit in Lordstown, Ohio, as a part of broader cutbacks that might get rid of a complete of 14,000 jobs, and it stopped manufacturing there two weeks in the past.
Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that he wished the Ohio plant “opened or sold to a company who will open it up fast!” He additionally urged G.M. to shut a manufacturing unit in China or Mexico as a substitute of idling the one in Lordstown.
The president additionally known as on the corporate and the U.A.W. to begin talks to reopen Lordstown reasonably than ready till the autumn, when the 2 sides are scheduled to barter a brand new labor contract. G.M. and the union, nevertheless, have been in discussions since final yr about Lordstown and different crops designated for closing.
“Our focus is on our members who have been impacted, and we have and will continue to leave no stone unturned to keep the G.M. plants open,” the union stated in an announcement.
In its November announcement, G.M. stated it was additionally idling a automotive plant in Detroit, and crops in Warren, Mich., and Baltimore that make electrical motors and transmissions. The motion will get rid of 2,800 manufacturing unit jobs. Hundreds of white-collar jobs are additionally being lower as a part of a cost-cutting drive.
G.M. not too long ago stated it might hold the Detroit plant working till January, seven months longer than initially deliberate.
As for the 1,200 Lordstown employees, 450 have discovered new jobs at different G.M. crops, in line with knowledge launched by G.M., and roughly 350 others have been eligible for retirement. The corporate has 2,700 openings for hourly employees, most within the Midwest, an organization spokesman stated.
The president’s messages have been the newest in latest Twitter volleys selling the state of the economic system with a presidential election season nearing. G.M.’s plant closings undercut his claims that he’s bringing manufacturing jobs to Ohio and different states.
On Monday, Mr. Trump identified that Toyota was growing its funding in United States operations. Final week, the Japanese automaker said it would invest $13 billion in the United States in a five-year period ending in 2021, up from its original estimate of $10 billion, and would add 600 jobs.
A G.M. spokesman said his company had invested $1 billion in its domestic operations since the 2016 election, and $22 billion since 2009. Part of its investment has gone into developing electric and self-driving cars. It has 98,000 employees in the United States.
The Lordstown plant was a victim of a rapid consumer shift as Americans abandoned small cars and sedans and flocked to sport utility vehicles and other larger vehicles. The Ohio plant made the Chevrolet Cruze, a compact whose sales fell by 23 percent in 2018. The plant was operating a single eight-hour shift a day. Auto plants typically have to run at least two shifts to make money.
Other automakers have been hit by the shift away from cars. Ford said last year that it was dropping sedans from its lineup. Fiat Chrysler did so in 2016.
Over the weekend, Mr. Trump had suggested that the Lordstown factory reopen “in a different form or with a new owner,” stressing that “time is of the essence!”
Mr. Trump also wrote that he had spoken with Mary Barra, G.M.’s chief executive, and had pressed her to sell the plant or “do something else quickly.” He also lashed out at David Green, the president of U.A.W. Local 1112, saying Mr. Green “ought to get his act together and produce.”
The carmaker responded to Mr. Trump’s comments with a statement saying that “the ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be resolved between G.M. and the U.A.W.” The union said in its own Twitter post Monday that “corporations close plants, workers don’t,” while urging the president not to “let G.M. off the hook.”
Elected officials from Ohio were quick to defend the union.
Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat who has criticized Mr. Trump’s inattention to the factory’s troubles in the past, chided the president on Sunday for “attacking workers.” Mr. Green and Lordstown union members “have shown grit and determination in the face of adversity,” Mr. Brown wrote on Twitter.
Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents the area, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Trump’s message about Mr. Green was “counterproductive and insulting.” Mr. Green had tried to get in touch with Mr. Trump twice in hopes of getting his assist, Mr. Ryan added, and had acquired no response.