Council backs local UAW

Presents resolution of support

WARREN — United Auto Workers Local 1112 members, retirees and their family members packed Warren council chambers Wednesday to receive a resolution passed by council Dec. 3 giving its unwavering support to the Drive It Home campaign and getting a new car at the Lordstown Assembly plant.

UAW shop chairman Dan Morgan expressed gratitude to council and the community for the support that the UAW employees are receiving during the campaign.

“I am impressed with the level of support we’ve received from the community,” Morgan said. “We will get through this.”

Morgan said the union will work to make sure the Lordstown plant will remain open for another 25 to 30 years.

Dave Green, president of UAW Local 1112, said the UAW employees have sacrificed over the last 52 years and it is time for GM to show its support back to Lordstown.

Mayor Doug Franklin, a former GM employee, said mayors from across Ohio and most of the local communities have pledged their support for the Lordstown plant.

“We are all in this together,” Franklin said. “I cannot think of an organization that has given so much to the community as the UAW has done over the years. Now it is our turn to give back.”

Council President Jim Graham, a former UAW Local 1112 president, expressed optimism for the plant’s future because of the wide support from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Earlier Wednesday, commissioners and other elected officials from Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties agreed to send a joint resolution to General Motors leaders emphasizing the region’s support in getting a new car at the Lordstown plant.

The group, which met at the Mahoning County Commissioners Office, included Trumbull County Commissioners Frank Fuda, Dan Polivka and Mauro Cantalamessa, Mahoning County Commissioners Anthony Traficanti, David Ditzler and Carol Rimedio-Righetti, as well as Columbiana County Commissioner Mike Halleck and State Rep.-elect Don Manning, R-New Middletown.

They also are looking at doing a joint bus trip to Detroit with elected officials from the three counties, as well as representatives from the business community, and area leaders such as Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel.

Ditzler said it is important to work together in keeping the 1,600 jobs at the plant, because these jobs affect Valley families, jobs and businesses.

“It represents a large percentage of our workforce,” Ditzler said. “A year ago it was 4,000 jobs. The plant has gone from three shifts to two shifts to one shift.”

Ditzler emphasized the union and the employees at the plant over the years have done all of the right things to make it efficient and profitable.

Polivka said communication from the local community not only should be targeted to executives, but also to the corporation’s board of directors. Cantalamessa emphasized they have to make sure GM and other manufacturers know the Valley is open for business.

“We have to be ready because GM will be rolling out new cars,” Cantalamessa said. “GM will be investing heavily into electric vehicles. Why couldn’t the Lordstown plant be used for the manufacture of these type of vehicles.”

Halleck said this is not the first time the Valley faced a difficult period at the Lordstown plant.

“People came together, Republican and Democrat, before the plant was given the Cavalier,” he said.

Manning said they should reach out to former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, who also was President Barack Obama’s auto czar during his first year in office.