Chamber president expects more info on Lordstown future after GM contract finalized
General Motors will have to act quickly if it wants to start making batteries in the valley within the next two years, according to the Youngstown Warren Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.
Speaking Friday on WFMJ Today, James Dignan also said experts believe that plans to begin making electric-powered pickup trucks at GM's closed Lordstown Assembly Plant by the end of next year seems to be a tight timeline, further delayed by protracted negotiations between the UAW and GM over a new contract.
Although local UAW presidents have agreed to let members vote on the tentative GM pact, that voting won't be wrapped up until next Friday, further delaying the release of further details from GM about building a battery plant here and Lordstown Motor's electric pickup truck plans. Dignan expects that we'll learn more when the labor contract is finalized.
GM has already indicated that the battery plant would not be in the Lordstown Assembly plant. Still, the automaker has indicated that the employees would be members of the United Autoworkers Union.
“Although there will be no new product coming out of the assembly plant, GM will be in the Valley. It will just look different,” said Dignan.
Noting that GM didn't use the entire plant to make the Chevy Cruze, experts say it's hard to believe that Lordstown Motors would use all of the Assembly Plant's six-million square feet to build electric pickup trucks, according to Dignan.
“We're looking forward to making sure that the facility is utilized to its maximum extent possible and that we get workers in there doing whatever it might be. The opportunity for the next generation of automotive manufacturing is there,” said Dignan
The tentative contract between GM and the UAW makes it clear that the automaker has no plans to build a vehicle in Lordstown. However, the agreement would provide assistance to workers impacted by the assembly plant shutdown.