GM is Cruising from Ohio to Mexico

Kyndal Sowers

Kyndal Sowers Intern, AAM

On June 22, General Motors announced that it’s bringing back the Chevy Blazer, a classic SUV that hasn’t been made in over 10 years.

But there’s one catch – the new Blazer will be built in Mexico.

The announcement came on the same day that the entire second shift at the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio was eliminated, laying off 1,500 employees. The third shift was cut last year, which laid off more than 1,000 employees.

Needless to say, General Motors didn’t have the best timing on this announcement. Hopefully their PR person realized that after they were criticized for “adding insult to economic injury.”

The Lordstown facility makes the Chevy Cruze, a once best-selling car, but its sales have declined recently. GM cited the shift in consumer demand from smaller compact cars (like the Cruze) to larger crossover vehicles (like the Blazer) as the reason for the layoffs. The reboot of the Blazer is the company’s attempt to capture part of the increased demand for SUVs.

Lordstown, located just outside Youngstown in the Mahoning Valley, is no stranger to economic plight, being part of the Rust Belt (although I prefer to affectionately call it the “industrial heartland”) that has struggled with the decline of manufacturing in recent years. The economic impact of the recent layoffs will certainly be substantial, considering that GM is one of the largest employers in the Youngstown area.

President Trump (who is known to bash companies on Twitter and take credit for “saving jobs”) has been noticeably quiet about General Motors’ plans to build the vehicle in Mexico. Trump made jobs one of the key issues of his campaign, and many argue that his promises appealed to white working class voters and won him victories in key states – namely Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Just last year, President Trump held a campaign rally in Youngstown where he promised to bring back jobs six times in one speech. Now that workers there have lost their jobs, he’s nowhere to be found. It’s almost like he only wants to take the credit when it looks good for him.

Among those who haven’t been so quiet about General Motors’ decision is just the Ohioan you would expect: Senator Sherrod Brown.

On the Senate floor, Brown spoke about the importance of the Lordstown plant to the Mahoning Valley. He slammed General Motors for its decision to build the Blazer in Mexico after receiving federal tax cuts and millions of dollars in tax incentives from Ohio, and he urged the company to invest in American workers.

I agree with the Senator – it’s incredibly disappointing and frustrating that General Motors is offshoring production when they could be investing in American workers.

The Chevy Blazer is scheduled to go on sale early next year – but you can bet that I won’t be buying it.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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