About 800 men and women who worked at the Lordstown Assembly Plant and two other plants shut down by General Motors in 2019 will share $8 million in back pay.

That’s the result of an arbitrator’s decision ruling that the March 8, 2019 shutdown of the Lordstown plant, as well as those in Baltimore and Warren, Michigan, violated terms of an earlier promise from GM that it would not idle any plants while the union’s collective bargaining agreement was in place.

The UAW says they're pushing the company to get the back pay to workers as soon as possible.

The document that arbiter’s ruling was based upon contains the following language:

As a result of your deep concern about job security in our negotiations and the many discussions that took place over it, this will confirm that during the term of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Company will not close, idle, nor partially or wholly sell, spin-off, split-off, consolidate or otherwise dispose of in any form, any plant, asset, or business unit of any type, beyond those which have already been identified, constituting a bargaining unit under the Agreement.

In making this commitment, it is understood that conditions may arise that are beyond the control of the Company, (i.e. market-related volume decline, act of God), and could make compliance with this commitment impossible. Should such conditions occur, the Company will review both the conditions and their impact on a particular location with the Union.

Should it be necessary to close or idle a plant constituting a bargaining unit consistent with our past practice, the Company will attempt to redeploy employees to other locations and, if necessary, utilize Attachment A of Appendix K of the GM-UAW National Agreement or other incentivized attrition programs as agreed to by the National Parties.



The Lordstown Assembly Complex opened in 1966 and produced the Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan from 2008 through early March 2019.

In 2016, the Lordstown Plant also began to manufacture the Chevrolet Cruze D2, a larger and more technologically advanced version of the Cruze compact sedan.

As of December 31, 2016, GM employed 2,826 active UAW-represented employees and 381 temporary employees on three shifts at the Lordstown plant.

Beginning in the mid-2010’s, however, sales of compact sedans declined, as consumer preferences shifted from sedans and compact cars (like the Cruze) to crossover vehicles and SUVs. As the Cruze sales decline deepened, GM eliminated the third shift at Lordstown in January 2017 and began cutting weeks out of the assembly schedule to better match production with sales.

In late July 2017, GM and the two separate UAW local unions (UAW Assembly Local 1112 and UAW Stamping Local 1714) at the Lordstown Complex executed the “Lordstown Site Operating Agreement” or Lordstown Memorandum of Understanding, which granted GM additional cost-savings and increased managerial flexibility in overtime assignments and deployment of skilled crafts, together with a merger of the two local unions.

About a year later, in the Spring of 2018, GM ended the second shift, laid off more employees, and reduced Lordstown Plant Cruze production staffing to one shift of approximately 1,150 active employees.

Discussions that began between GM and the unions in October 2018 over additional cost-saving concessions ended after GM made its unilateral “Unallocation Announcement” on November 26, 2018, ten days after GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra and other top GM executives informed the UAW that the company planned to cease production at several plants, including Lordstown, Baltimore, and Warren, Michigan due to declining sales.

At the time of the announcement, approximately 1,100 UAW-represented employees were still working at the Lordstown Complex.