General Motors said in November that it would idle its Lordstown, Ohio, factory as part of broader cutbacks that would eliminate a total of 14,000 jobs. Nearly two weeks after the carmaker followed through on its plans, President Trump appears to be fixated on seeing the factory reopen.
On Monday, Mr. Trump wrote in a message on Twitter that he wanted the Ohio plant “opened or sold to a company who will open it up fast!” He also urged G.M. to close a factory in China or Mexico instead of shutting the one in Lordstown.
The messages were the latest in recent volley by Mr. Trump as he tries to pressure G.M. and the United Automobile Workers union into beginning negotiations immediately on an agreement that would put the plant back to work.
General Motors and the UAW are going to start “talks” in September/October. Why wait, start them now! I want jobs to stay in the U.S.A. and want Lordstown (Ohio), in one of the best economies in our history, opened or sold to a company who will open it up fast! Car companies…..
Over the weekend, Mr. Trump had suggested that the Lordstown factory reopen “in a different form or with a new owner,” stressing that “time is of the essence!”
Mr. Trump also wrote that he had spoken with Mary Barra, G.M.’s chief executive, and had pressed her to sell the plant or “do something else quickly.” He also lashed out at David Green, the president of U.A.W. Local 1112, saying that Mr. Green “ought to get his act together and produce.”
The carmaker responded to Mr. Trump’s comments with a statement saying that “the ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be resolved between G.M. and the U.A.W.” The union said in its own Twitter post Monday that “corporations close plants, workers don’t,” while urging the president not to “let G.M. off the hook.”
Elected officials from Ohio were quick to defend the union.
Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who has criticized Mr. Trump’s inattention to the factory’s troubles in the past, chided the president on Sunday for “attacking workers.” Mr. Green and Lordstown union members “have shown grit and determination in the face of adversity,” Mr. Brown wrote on Twitter.
Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents the area in Congress, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Trump’s message about Mr. Green was “counterproductive and insulting.” Mr. Green had tried get in touch with Mr. Trump twice in hopes of getting his help, Mr. Ryan added, and had gotten no response.
When G.M. made its announcement in November, it said the Lordstown plant would be one of five factories in North America where it would stop production, with roughly 1,600 of the job cuts expected to come from the Ohio plant. As part of its response to Mr. Trump’s Twitter barrage, the company said it had placed more than 1,000 employees from the affected factories in jobs at other G.M. plants.
Follow Tiffany Hsu on Twitter: @tiffkhsu.
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