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Metal stamping at GM plant completed

100 or fewer employees remain at idled facility in Lordstown

LORDSTOWN — Metal stamping for Chevrolet Cruze replacement parts — work General Motors said would be finished by the end of June — ended April 5, according to the president of United Auto Workers Local 1112.

One hundred or less employees remain working at GM’s idled Cruze assembly plant as layoffs continue to happen at least through May 31, the date the automaker informed the state in late March it would have employees working at the facility.

Another round of layoffs was scheduled to begin Monday, when 24 hourly employees were scheduled to be let go and another round is set to begin April 29, when 39 hourly employees and 13 salaried employees will be laid off, according to a mass layoff notice filed with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“We are going through and cleaning,” said Dave Green, UAW Local 1112 president. “I’m currently working in material handling. We’re just moving some stuff around.”

Green said negotiations between the UAW and GM on a new collective bargaining agreement are set to start in June. It’s widely accepted the fate of the plant, whether it will remain closed or open with a new product, will be determined during the negotiations.

The contract the sides have now expires Sept. 14.

Green doesn’t have a seat at the bargaining table, but remains confident the UAW negotiating team can secure a new vehicle for the facility, which produced for the last nine or so years the Cruze, the No. 5 best-selling Chevrolet vehicle in 2018.

In the first quarter of 2019, the Cruze was No. 7 out of Chevrolet’s 19 vehicles, including the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt and plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt.

“A lawsuit has been filed. I know they are actively pursuing that and at the negotiation table, they have told me that you know, no promises, but they are not giving up on Lordstown. I’m confident that our international union is going to be able to sit down at that table later this year and help secure some future product for us,” Green said.

There is a lawsuit in federal court in Youngstown to stop GM from idling the Lordstown plant and the two in Michigan — the Warren Transmission Plant in Warren, Mich., and Detroit-Hamtramck, which was set to close on June 1, but the company is keeping it open until January 2020 to continue production of the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6.

The UAW claims an agreement it has with GM bars GM from closing any plant during the course of the existing collective bargaining agreement that doesn’t expire until Sept. 14. GM said placing the plants on “unallocated” status does not violate the agreement.

There are motions from the company pending that ask for the lawsuit to be dismissed and change its venue to Detroit.

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