Workers Got Screwed; GM Got Massive Tax Cut
COLUMBUS — In what might be the perfect summation of the Trump presidency, Vice President Mike Pence is showing up in Ohio for a photo op years too late to help save the thousands of jobs that were lost when General Motors shuttered their Lordstown factory.
“The sad saga of Lordstown began years ago, and now that thousands of workers have lost their jobs or left behind family and friends to move across the country, Mike Pence is showing his face in the Mahoning Valley,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “On the very first day of Donald Trump’s presidency, GM laid off 1,200 workers at their Lordstown plant. The workers begged for help for years, and all Trump did was fire off a bunch of tweets attacking the workers and their leaders and sign a massive tax break for GM. Then GM announced they would close Lordstown for good and build their new Blazer SUV in Mexico.
“Trump told the people of the Mahoning Valley, ‘Don’t move, don’t sell your house’ — but for thousands of workers, they had to do just that. Donald Trump has broken one promise after another, and working Ohioans are paying the price.”
Here is a timeline of the GM Lordstown plant and Donald Trump:
“Asked if President Obama showed leadership in the 2008/2009 bailout of the major auto companies, Trump meandered through an answer that left him without a position.”
Trump: “I think you would have wound up in the same place.”
Trump is inaugurated the same day that 1,200 GM Lordstown workers are laid off.
One laid-off worker who voted for Trump said: “Please help us in Lordstown … This is a great middle-class job. You can’t find one better around here.”
At a rally in Youngstown, Trump talks about jobs in the Mahoning Valley.
“They’re all coming back. They’re all coming back. Don’t move, don’t sell your house … We never again will sacrifice Ohio jobs and those in other states to enrich other countries.”
Trump signs tax bill into law. GM reaps a massive windfall from the new tax law.
GM announces that it plans to build the new Chevrolet Blazer at a plant in Mexico.
A UAW Lordstown leader writes to Trump, “The fact (is) that many of our workers here in Ohio voted for you, and for you to remain silent on this issue is disturbing.”
Trump doesn’t respond to the letter.
GM announces it will close its factory in Lordstown, losing the remaining 1,600 jobs at the plant and affecting 43,000 across the industrial Midwest.
Trump dismisses the impact of the Lordstown GM plant closing, saying “it doesn’t really matter” if thousands of jobs are lost, adding, “Ohio’s going to replace those jobs in like two minutes.”
Ohio does not replace those jobs in two minutes. The Buckeye State lost 12,500 jobs from January 2019 to January 2020, which made 2019 the worst year for jobs in Ohio since the Great Recession.
A UAW Lordstown leader pens his second letter to Trump after not hearing back about his first letter from the summer before. He reminds Trump that 40,000 jobs could be impacted.
The president does not respond to this letter.
Trump ignores Lordstown’s crisis in his State of the Union speech.
One worker says: “He came out in November and said that he expected something to go there and then in the SOTU he had the perfect opportunity and didn’t even mention us.”
The Lordstown GM plant shuts its doors, displacing thousands of workers.
Trump says nothing about Lordstown. Instead, he tweets about fake news and his manufactured “national emergency” at the border.
Ten days after the Lordstown plant closes, Trump apparently realizes the factory has closed, marking the event with a series of angry tweets.
Trump gets on Twitter to bash the union leader who had been fighting for years to protect Ohio jobs in Lordstown and continues his Twitter tirade, passing blame onto union workers for GM’s decision.
Pence attends a central Ohio groundbreaking for Magna Seating, a company that had closed its plant in Lordstown and laid off hundreds of workers.
GM workers start nationwide six-week strike. The union fights to bring a new product to the shuttered Lordstown plant, but ultimately, the agreement does not reopen the factory.
No Trump administration officials visit a picket line to support GM’s workers, who tell Trump to stay out of the negotiations, one saying, “He didn’t support us when we went bankrupt. I don’t think that’s something the UAW will ever forget. He didn’t support us then, why should he say anything now?”
GM sells its Lordstown plant to Lordstown Motors.
Trump releases a new budget that eliminates the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program — a program that could provide $200 million in funding for Lordstown Motors.
Trump tweets that “General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant … and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!”
(GM had sold the Lordstown plant in November 2019.)
A news report reveals that the state of Ohio is attempting to claw back $60 million in tax subsidies given to GM, which had pledged to keep jobs at the Lordstown plant through 2027.