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GM sells its Lordstown Assembly plant to electric truck start-up

Detroit Free Press logo Detroit Free Press 4 days ago Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press

General Motors said it has sold its Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio after idling the plant on March 8.

GM sold the 6.2-million-square-foot facility to an investment group called Lordstown Motors, which is backed by electric truck maker Workhorse Group.

The amount of the sale is not being disclosed.

In a statement, GM said: "GM is committed to the future investment and job growth in Ohio and we believe LMC's plan to launch the Endurance electric pickup has the potential to create a significant number of jobs and help the Lordstown area grow into a manufacturing hub for electrification." 

Lordstown Motors was not immediately available for comment.

Lordstown Motors is a startup focused on developing and producing an electric pickup truck for commercial fleets. GM has said the business would create about 450 jobs. 

GM is still looking to build a battery cell plant in the Lordstown area that will create about 1,000 jobs, it said.

“Nothing’s ever going to replace the 5,000 jobs in the GM plant and all the spinoff jobs," said Tim O'Hara, UAW Local 1112 president. "For the Mahoning Valley, any job is a good job, but we don’t know what the jobs will pay and how many will be offered. If these turn out to be union jobs, it’ll be good for the valley from that aspect.”

A person familiar with the plans said the jobs are likely to start at $17 an hour.

GM had built the Chevrolet Cruze compact car at Lordstown. In November 2018, GM said it would idle the plant along with three other plants in the United States: Detroit-Hamtramck, Warren Transmission and Baltimore Transmission.

Related video: Lordstown schools prepare students for jobs outside of manufacturing (provided by WJW-TV Cleveland)

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The UAW had hoped to get new products for the transmission plants and Lordstown to build during negotiations. But GM only agreed to invest in Detroit-Hamtramck to build electric vehicles. The others remained closed.

Reaction to the news is mixed among former Lordstown workers.

"Needless to say we are heartbroken," said Mike Yakim, who worked in Lordstown until transferring to GM's Lansing Delta Township a few months ago. "It's the last nail in the coffin for Lordstown and the Mahoning Valley."

But former UAW Local 1112 President Dave Green said, “I feel bad for the people who are left behind and my hope moving forward is that it can grow because it’s a significant cry from 4,500 jobs out of the community. I’m glad something will be in there and it is not sitting empty.”

Since building the last Cruze in March, about 1,400 Lordstown workers transferred to other GM plants around the country. But nearly 400 of them declined transfers and remain in the Lordstown area, said O'Hara.

Earlier Thursday, GM management met with "several hundred" of the former Lordstown workers still in the area, said O'Hara. There were two meetings held inside conference rooms in the nearly vacant plant where GM managers reviewed the buyout options GM has offered in the new four-year union contract and answered questions, O'Hara said.

Those include:

  • Employees who turned down transfer offers have been offered buyouts of up to $75,000, and the option of one more job offer from GM.
  • Retirement-eligible employees, including those who transferred, were offered either $75,000 (production workers) or $85,000 (skilled trades) if they opt to retire.
  • Employees close to full retirement eligibility also were offered incentives to bridge to retirement.

O'Hara said neither GM nor Lordstown Motors has met with the union and details remain sketchy as to when Lordstown Motors will begin tooling the plant, hiring and starting production. It's also unknown if the jobs will be unionized.

"If they’re going to be union represented, we’d like Local 1112 to be their bargaining agent when that time comes," said O'Hara. "We don’t want the local to go away and that was a fear of ours after the contract ended."

Contact Jamie L. LaReau at 313-222-2149 or jlareau@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @jlareauan. Read more on General Motors and sign up for our autos newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: GM sells its Lordstown Assembly plant to electric truck start-up

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