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What they're saying: Politicians react to GM closings in their backyards

Sherrod Brown
Photo: Pete Marovich via Getty Images

General Motors announced Monday that it will cut 15% of its salaried workforce — about 14,000 employees — and "unallocate" multiple North American plants in 2019.

The big picture: The move prompted immediate outrage from local politicians who believe the company has failed to invest in American workers, even after receiving a bailout during the recession and reaping benefits from last year's GOP tax bill.

What they're saying:

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio): "The workers at Lordstown are the best at what they do, and it’s clear once again that GM doesn’t respect them. Ohio taxpayers rescued GM, and it’s shameful that the company is now abandoning the Mahoning Valley and laying off workers right before the holidays. Even worse, the company reaped a massive tax break from last year’s GOP tax bill and failed to invest that money in American jobs, choosing to build its Blazer in Mexico. GM owes the community answers on how the rest of the supply chain will be impacted & what consequences its disastrous decision will have on the Valley & Ohio. My office stands ready to do everything we can to help these workers. This decision is corporate greed at its worst."
  • Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio): "Today our generation is facing a new Black Monday in the Mahoning Valley. GM’s announcement is devastating for the men and women working at Lordstown and everyone here in the Mahoning Valley. For decades, workers have devoted their lives, working day and night, to produce some of the finest cars in the country for General Motors. We fought together to keep GM afloat and the American taxpayers bailed them out when they were on the verge of bankruptcy. Thousands of families have sacrificed to build GM into what it is today. And in return, GM has turned its back on us when we need them the most. This is a bad combination of greedy corporations and policy makers with no understanding of economic development."
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: "GM workers have been part of the heart and soul of Oshawa for generations - and we’ll do everything we can to help the families affected by this news get back on their feet. Yesterday, I spoke with GM’s Mary Barra to express my deep disappointment in the closure."
  • Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio): "Lordstown has been part of the GM family for more than 50 years so it's painful to see this happen to the plant's workers, their families and the community. We'll work with GM to see if anything can be done to preserve a future for the plant and in the meantime we've set up a jobs center to help employees find new work as quickly as possible. Even though this is frustrating news, hardworking, skilled men and women are in demand, and we're going to do everything we can to help the families affected have access to other opportunities."
  • Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio): "I am deeply frustrated with General Motors’ decision to shut down its Lordstown plant and disappointed with how the hardworking employees there have been treated throughout this process. During frank conversations with GM CEO Mary Barra after the announcement that GM cut a shift at the plant due to the weakening market for the Chevy Cruze, I urged her to look to the Lordstown plant for production of other vehicles and to make a public commitment to the plant and its workforce. During today’s conversation, I pressed GM again to provide new opportunities to the Lordstown workers and take advantage of the skilled workforce there. I once again urged GM to make a commitment to bring a new product to the plant, especially since GM is proposing to build a number of new electric vehicles. In the short term, I urged GM to at least reallocate some of the production and employees to the Toledo GM plant. I will continue doing everything I can to help the Lordstown workers during this transition. For decades, workers in the Mahoning Valley have made a commitment to GM, and today GM let Northeast Ohio down.”

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