Members of United Auto Workers Local 1112 are more skeptical than optimistic after the announcement Wednesday that General Motors is in talks to sell its Lordstown plant to Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group, an upstart maker of electric trucks.
Many are shocked the company would rather sell the plant than assign a new GM vehicle to be built in Lordstown.
UAW Local 1112 Vice President Tim O'Hara says while there is talk the new company may hire a couple hundred UAW workers, there are still many unknowns. Will they be paid the same? Will workers a few years away from retirement receive their full pensions?
“We don't want to say it is a bad thing that we could get 400 jobs, if that is what it ends up being, but that is not what we want. We want to continue working for General Motors building quality vehicles," said O’Hara.
Since the plant went dark in March, O'Hara says 700 workers left the area for other GM positions, 400 cut ties with the company and about 700 more are waiting to see if the plant will reopen.
Alan Cuevas, a 24-year GM employee, says while 400 jobs may be filled by UAW workers, there are still a lot of questions and uncertainty.
“I don't know how that is going to play, is that going to be $15-an-hour UAW jobs? Or are you not going to be collecting time toward your pension?" he said. "If I was not, then I would not take it. If I was, then I would take it."
He adds 400 jobs is a big difference from the 4,500 Lordstown employed as recently as two years ago.
The union and GM begin contract negotiations this summer.