General Motors CEO Mary Barra responds to area students

To read Mary Barra’s letter to local school children, click here.

WARREN — General Motors CEO Mary Barra has responded to the thousands of local school children who wrote her before Christmas urging her to reconsider the decision to stop production at the GM plant in Lordstown.

“Thank you for sharing your thoughts and pictures with me. I see how much you care about your family, friends and community, and I understand why you are sad and worried. I want you to know that I care about them, and about you,” Barra wrote.

“Like you, I am proud of them and grateful for the years they’ve been part of our GM family,” Barra wrote. “We’re working hard to continue finding ways to support them and your community.”

Students from about 20 schools districts in Trumbull and Mahoning counties wrote Barra explaining their anxiety, and worry for their friends and families over the plant’s intended idling in March. The letters were sent by United Auto Workers Local 1112.

Dave Green, president of UAW Local 1112, said he believes the “emotional, heartfelt” messages had an impact.

“We remain hopeful that General Motors will recognize we have the hardest working, most dedicated people in the world right here in the Mahoning Valley, and that we have been part of the GM family for 53 years and you don’t turn your back on family,” said Green, co-chairman of the Drive It Home Ohio campaign.

The campaign is a local grassroots effort to convince GM to assign a new vehicle to the facility and invest in the local workforce. Local labor, business and elected officials and community members comprise the coalition.

Barra wrote the automaker has started offering jobs at other GM plants to many Lordstown employees and is partnering with the United Way locally “to help families who decide not to relocate to another GM plant.”

GM announced in November it intends to idle five North American plants, including Lordstown, in March, and it is eliminating the Chevrolet Cruze.

About 300 of the 560 employees at Lordstown who volunteered to transfer have been placed at another plant, according to the latest transfer numbers from GM. The automaker expects to update the numbers today, the same day it will release fourth-quarter earnings for 2018.