GM is Closing My Plant. What Are Politicians Going to Do About It?

Nanette Senters

Nanette Senters GM

For the past 20 years, I’ve walked at least nine miles a day on the body shop floor of the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where I help assemble the Chevy Cruze. In a few weeks, when GM shutters our plant, I’ll walk my last mile.

I don’t know what’s next for me and nearly 15,000 other workers who are being laid off at GM plants across the country.

What I do know is that GM is forcing my fellow workers to choose between mandatory relocation to other plants, hundreds of miles away from their families, and the unemployment line.

For me and many of my co-workers, this is a false choice. I can’t just pick up and leave. My entire family lives in the Lordstown area — my 84-year-old mother is too frail to move and she relies on me for her care. I’m also expecting my first grandchild here in June. But if I don’t relocate, I may not be able to find another job that pays a living wage.

Which is why I’m choosing instead to fight for the fair treatment and dignity that I deserve.

The truth is that our political leaders have failed America’s workers. President Donald Trump promised to revive the auto industry, but he hasn’t done anything to force GM to save our jobs. In fact, instead of punishing GM, the Trump administration has awarded the company with billions of dollars in federal contracts.

GM isn’t the only corporation that’s profiting from our tax dollars even as it betrays workers. New research from Good Jobs Nation shows that 185,000 jobs have been lost to foreign competition on Trump’s watch, and that his administration has awarded more than $115 billion in federal contracts to companies such as GM that continue to offshore jobs.

Our tax dollars shouldn’t reward job killers. That’s why the thousands of workers who are being laid off by GM — and the surrounding communities hurt by GM’s closure of our productive, profitable plant — are calling on the 2020 presidential candidates to come to Lordstown to tell us how they’re going to do what Trump won’t do: hold GM accountable and save our jobs.

Politicians who ignore Rust Belt towns like Lordstown do so at their peril. Returns from the recent midterm election indicate that Trumbull County — which flipped from blue to red in 2016 — flipped back to blue in 2018.

Workers in our county realized that Trump’s continued inaction to bring jobs back spoke louder than his rhetoric. With unemployment and poverty rates — at 6 percent and 17 percent, respectively — well above the national averages, we need politicians who will do what it takes to turn things around.

Here in Lordstown, GM was the only game in town for workers looking for a decent wage to support their families. What’s more, our plant supported many other jobs in the community. It’s estimated that for every GM job lost, there will be three or four jobs lost in the surrounding community.

Lordstown has given a lot over the years to GM — from tax breaks and subsidies during the auto bailout to a skilled, hard-working workforce. Now, GM is just walking away and sending our jobs to Mexico. They don’t seem to care that they’re taking our hopes for the future with them.

We need politicians who will stand on our side, not on the side of corporations that only care about their profit margins.

I hope to see the 2020 presidential candidates here in Lordstown soon. And I hope to hear them outline their plans to hold GM and other offshoring corporations accountable. We need good jobs here now. Our future and the future of our community depend on it.

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Reposted from Inequality.org

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Steel for Wind Power

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

Siemens Gamesa last month laid off 130 workers at its turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa, just months after GE Renewable Energy decided to close an Arkansas factory and eliminate 470 jobs.

The companies reported shrinking demand for their products, even though U.S. consumption of wind energy increases every year.

America’s prosperity depends not only on harnessing this crucial energy source but also ensuring that highly skilled U.S. workers build the components with the cleanest technology available.

Right now, the nation relies on imported steel and turbine components from foreign manufacturers like China while America’s own steel industry—well equipped for this production—struggles because of dumping and other unfair trade practices.

Steel makes up the bulk of turbine hubs and the wind towers themselves. It’s also used to make the cranes and platforms necessary for installing the towers.

Yet the potential boon to America’s steel industry is just one reason to ramp up domestic production of wind energy infrastructure.

American steel production ranks among the cleanest in the world, while China has the highest carbon emissions of any steelmaking nation and flouts environmental regulations.

The nation’s highly-skilled steelmaking workforce must play an essential role in the deeply-needed revitalization and modernization of the nation’s failing infrastructure. Producing the components for harnessing wind energy domestically and cleanly is an important step that will put Americans to work and position the United States to be world leaders in this growing industry.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work