Closed GM Plant Is Part Of Larger Negotiating Strategy For Striking UAW
Negotiations between General Motors and striking autoworkers revolve in part around a plant that has shut down six months ago the last Chevy Cruz rolled off the assembly line at Lordstown Town Ohio Emel sheltie reports on what workers are doing now when the UAW last struck General Motors in two thousand seven the thousands of members in Lordstown were ready. They packed the two local union hall signing up for six hour shifts at the nine gates of the sprawling plant in northeast Ohio. Things are very different now. After only a handful of retirees and other volunteers are holding up picket signs celebrating the honks of support from the occasional truck passing by the West Gate here behind behind them are hundreds of acres of empty asphalt surrounding a plant that once employed more than ten thousand people and now employs only ten the picketers sum up why in just just a few words Brotherhood brothers and sisters supporting make it or Ed Rendell says it's a matter of just showing up to represent this place. Somebody's he's gotTa be here. I mean you know if there's no one here which is a signal that we're given up on this player. Rachelle Carlisle isn't giving up. She and her husband are among the thousand. GM employees who transferred to other plants. She's coming back from Michigan. This weekend joined the Lordstown picket line others are on their way to from Missouri Tennessee Kentucky Kentucky. We all keep in contact with each other or all spread out all over the country but also there for each other nearly all the local union leaders were among those who transferred away from here that left it to retirees like Bill Adams to step up. Hey No we don't have a statement. They were using the wreckage. Staples Atom says what the group lots numbers. It makes up in passion. I A lot of anger what happened. The can't understand why a plant that's produce just over sixteen million cars and fifty three years is all of a sudden useless to General Motors. They don't understand that. GM says what happened was pretty simple. American stop buying hang small cars it reacted by cutting shifts and then finally closing the plant in March. Bill Adams doesn't by the company's argument. GM made more than ten billion in dollars in North America last year and the local union has long argued that it could have shifted production of another vehicle here but GM says it has way too much capacity even for better selling trucks. SUV's Adams raises an eyebrow when asked about proposals GM floated just hours before the strike deadline. It was to build electric electric vehicle batteries near here. GM also is negotiating with an electric trucks start up to buy the Lordstown plant but even if both things happen the likely to hundreds of jobs not thousands the former Lordstown workers understand their plant is just one part of a much larger negotiating strategy. When Eric Loomis wrote his book a history of America intense strikes he devoted a chapter to the nineteen seventy-two Lordstown strike back then younger workers wanted more control over working conditions and the fierce clashes between Labor and management extended well beyond the three week strike in the industry that confrontational culture became known as the Lordstown Syndrome and Lordstown is now idled that action played a role in this strike. I think we're seeing a return to the strike as a weapon in in part because a lot of the other options that workers have tried to make life better for themselves shown to say they're not working and workers are getting more determined in a little more desperate when GM am closed the plant it said it recognised and regretted what it was doing to workers but it had to think about the long term viability of the company U. A. W. Members here are also also thinking about viability and they're determined to try to keep their plant an active part of not only the negotiations but of the nation's labor consciousness for N._p._R. News I'm L. Solti.