More than 8,000 American workers in the Lordstown, Ohio, region could be laid off due to General Motors’ (GM) decision to close its assembly plant in the town.
This year, GM CEO Mary Barra announced the automaker would stop production at four of its U.S. plants, including Detroit-Hamtramck and Warren Transmission in Michigan, Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, and Baltimore Operations in Maryland.
The production closures come after GM laid off about 1,500 American workers in Lordstown in 2018, while its Mexico production remains unaffected, and production in China ramps up.
Since 2017, about 4,500 American workers have lost their jobs at GM in Ohio, and 1,600 specifically were laid off with the recent closing of the Lordstown plant. Another 900 American workers in supporting industries have also already been put out of work. In Michigan and Maryland, thousands of American workers are expected to be laid off this year.
The stories of these laid off American workers at GM’s Lordstown, Ohio plant are heartbreaking: “There was no thank you for your dedication, loyalty, and services when we were walked out.” https://t.co/DoOziWm3Nm
— John Binder 👽 (@JxhnBinder) March 9, 2019
Newest job loss estimates reveal a startling economic downturn that the GM plant closure could have on the working and middle-class communities in and around Lordstown.
Tod Porter, chair of the Youngstown State University Economics Department, now projects that more than 8,000 American workers in the Lordstown area could lose their jobs due to the GM plant closure. A number of these job losses may be at auto supply companies that relied on the auto manufacturing plant.
A couple of GM workers explained to Reuters how they have had to move multiple times across the country to keep their job at the automaker, an inconvenience that has weighed heavily on their personal lives:
[Dina] Mays is on her third GM factory in 15 years. In 2005, she moved to Lordstown in northeastern Ohio after being laid off at a GM plant in Baltimore, Maryland. [Emphasis added]
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s rough,” Mays said. [Emphasis added]
With 25 years at GM, [Joe Stanton] also has five years to go before he can retire. He rents an apartment with Mays just outside Toledo to cut costs. He moved from Pittsburgh to Lordstown in 2006 when his GM plant there closed. He owns two homes, one near Lordstown and one in Pennsylvania. [Emphasis added]
As has been seen with other working and middle-class American communities, outsourcing and offshoring of U.S. manufacturing industries and jobs to cut labor costs for corporate executives have devastated entire regions of the country.
Weirton, West Virginia, for example, once boomed with 15,000 residents employed at steel mills. Free trade and outsourcing in the 1990s spurred mass layoffs in the American steel industry, leaving just 800 workers in the town still employed at steel mills.
American manufacturing is vital to the U.S. economy as every one manufacturing job supports an additional 7.4 American jobs in other industries. Decades of free trade, with deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has eliminated nearly five million manufacturing jobs from the American economy and resulted in the closure of nearly 50,000 manufacturing plants.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.