WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A Wednesday meeting between Ohio lawmakers and General Motors’ CEO about the future of the Lordstown plant did not go smoothly.
“We didn’t get answers to questions that we hoped to see answered,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said after the hour-long closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill.
He and fellow Ohio Sen. Rob Portman say GM’s plan to sell the shuttered plant to a much smaller electric truck startup won’t spur enough investment to help the nearly 5,000 workers who were laid off over the last two years.
“This is a sad story right now,” Portman, a Republican, said. “It’s going to be tough for them to make the investment in that plant that we would like to see.”
He said GM CEO Mary Barra could promise only about 400 jobs after the sale.
“I just think GM doesn’t really see the hardship this is causing for so, so, so many families,” Brown said.
The senators said they pleaded with GM to use the plant to build a fleet of GM electric cars instead, but it said that’s not going to happen.
“It is a lack of commitment by General Motors to a plant that has served them so well,” Portman said.
They say they will continue to fight for workers and that they are in talks with other companies looking to invest in the plant.
Rep. Tim Ryan, the Democrat who represents the Lordstown region, was also disappointed by the meeting.
“There’s no good way to characterize a meeting where the CEO of the company says, ‘I don’t want to give anybody false hope,'” he said.
But he said he wants to keep an open mind and that if the sale goes through, he’ll work to send federal dollars to the small truck company to help it grow.
“We’ve got to just play the hand we’re dealt at this point and do the best we possibly can,” he said.
No future meeting with GM are scheduled.
The autoworkers union will have to approve the sale. Negotiations begin in September.