GM CEO Barra, Valley Senators talk after meeting on Lordstown Co - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

GM CEO Barra, Valley Senators talk after meeting on Lordstown Complex

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -

Just moments after sitting down with Senators representing the Mahoning Valley, General Motors CEO Mary Barra spoke out about the Lordstown complex. 

Barra walked out of a meeting with Senators Rob Portman (R) and Sherrod Brown (D) and addressed media standing outside, saying that their decision to leave five plants, including GM Lordstown unallocated was "incredibly difficult". 

Barra said that the companies main priority at this point is "working to have a plan for every single person". 

She explained that that includes making sure GM employees know all of their options including potential transferring to other locations across the nation and retraining. 

When asked if that meant that there was no future for the Lordstown plant Barr responded saying, "Lordstown plant is an unallocated plant. We have a contract with our UAW and it is very important that we respect that and work through that contract."

Barra said that General Motors is invested in Ohio, saying, "We have a very strong automotive presence in Ohio. We have several plants and about 4,000 workers, in addition to what we're talking about now.  There are some of the facilities in Ohio that will have jobs available as well. We are trying to do the right thing. We think Ohio is a very important auto state with a very good workforce there. We have a tremendous number of workers there in the state that will continue."  

However, Barra did address the changing industry standards and General Motors's efforts to stay on top. 

"We are in an industry that is transforming faster than I've ever seen in my 38-year career," said Barra. "We are trying to make sure that General Motors is strong and in a leadership position in technologies like electrification, like autonomous vehicles, like connectivity, because that's what customers want. Because that's where the industry is going."

"A strong General Motors is the best way for me to provide and maintain the 90,000 plus jobs that we have across the United States, in addition to all those who have retired from General Motors and their pensions," Barra explained. 

"We're working very hard to make sure General Motors is around for several decades in a leadership position, can provide jobs, and support the communities and stakeholders that are involved in the company," she continued. 

When asked about the government bailout and tax breaks General Motors has received in recent years, Barra said the company has invested 22 billion dollars in the United States and will continue to invest in the nation. 

"We're trying to make sure we're good corporate citizens, and continue to provide jobs and provide vehicles and transportation that customers want in this country," said Barra. "That's what I think can be the most responsible thing that we can do to thank the American taxpayers for what they did for us." 

During the press conference, Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown said they talked "a lot" about the possibility of getting another product into the "unallocated" Lordstown complex. 

Senator Portman said that "the workers and community of Lordstown have proved themselves time and time again for more than five decades". 

Meanwhile, Senator Brown said they know what Lordstown means to the community and are trying to put something else in the plant. 

The senators said that General Motors is introducing several new models in the upcoming years, any of which they would like to see brought to Lordstown. 

Senator Brown said that he and Portman, as well as CEO Barra, will be in contact with leaders from the United Autoworkers union about contract negotiations and discussions about plant locations.

As far as a commitment to Lordstown, Senator Portman expressed that Barra "agreed that was a potential opportunity."

However, Barra reportedly told the Senators that she did not want to "raise expectations". 

Brown said that they spoke to the fact that thousands of workers, including those who work at GM Lordstown, as well as employees from the companies that supply or distribute for GM Lordstown, are in limbo- waiting to make decisions about their companies' futures and their supplies. 

Brown said that Barra acknowledged that and has "been cooperative about trying to expedite that process."

\Barra is scheduled to meet with Valley Congressmen Tim Rya (D) and Bill Johnson (R) later Wednesday afternoon. 
 

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