Trump pressures GM over Ohio plant closure, wants it ‘open now’

Trump puts the heat on GM over Ohio plant closure

The Wall Street Journal tech and autos reporter Tim Higgins on President Trump sparring with General Motors over the closure of a Lordstown, Ohio plant.

President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to push for General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union to move up scheduled contract discussions regarding the automaker’s Lordstown, Ohio plant.

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Production at the Lordstown plant ceased earlier this month. It is one of several North American plants that the automaker announced it would shutter by early next year as part of a restructuring effort.

The Ohio plant employed about 1,400 hourly workers. Overall, the company said its restructuring plan would result in the elimination of about 14,000 jobs, though it has said some of those workers will be able to transfer to other facilities.

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Monday’s comments follow a firestorm of tweets posted over the weekend, including others regarding the GM plant.

Trump said GM needs to act quickly because the economy "is so good" that other car companies – like Toyota – are investing heavily in their U.S. operations. Fiat Chrysler recently announced a $4.5 billion investment in the U.S., while Toyota pledged to commit around $13 billion over the coming years.

He also said he spoke to GM CEO Mary Barra on Sunday and asked her to either sell the plant or “do something quickly.” Trump said Barra blamed sluggish action on the UAW union.

In response to the situation, GM issued a statement saying the fate of unallocated plants will be resolved between itself and the union.

"We remain open to talking with all affected stakeholders, but our main focus remains on our employees and offering them jobs in our plants where we have growth opportunities," GM said.

The UAW, in a tweet, thanked the president for “fighting alongside” the union “against GM,” saying it planned to leave “no stone unturned to keep the plants open.” The union has sued the automaker over the closures.

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Trump is expected to visit Ohio this week.

GM announced the restructuring bid as it shifts its focus to SUVs, trucks and electric vehicles.

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