CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Ohio's two U.S. senators will meet face-to-face Wednesday with General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
The three will discuss the status of GM's Lordstown Plant which is being classified as "unallocated" after production of the Chevy Cruze ends in March of 2019.
Unallocated means the plant doesn't have another product designated. That status puts the plant in jeopardy of closing. About 1,500 employees work at the plant. In recent years three shifts were reduced to one.
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) told FOX BUSINESS he would like to see the plant remain open and will press Barra on options.
"I understand that the Cruze is not selling well. That's a market condition." Portman told FOX BUSINESS. "What I don't understand is why this plant which has been an award-winning plant, got a J.D. Power award just this year in fact for being effective (and) competitive, why this plant can't continue to be used for other product."
Portman is hoping GM's plans for more production of electric vehicles will present new opportunities for Lordstown.
"As she's (Barra) told me, she's very hesitant to raise expectations that can't be met," Portman told FOX BUSINESS. "But she's also said she will keep an open mind."
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said the fight for the Lordstown plant and its workers will be relentless.
"If you love this country, you fight for the people who make it work – people like the workers at Lordstown. Senator Portman and I are committed to saving these jobs and call on GM to work with us to find solutions," Brown said in a news release. "Ohio has stood by GM. Now GM needs to stand by Ohio, and the workers who make their company successful."
Governor John Kasich, R-OH, veered into the Lordstown debate during a visit to The City Club of Cleveland on Tuesday. While addressing a question about education, Kasich warned that workers need to be ready for jobs of the future. Kasich said the development of autonomous vehicle and other technology may eliminate jobs many people have depended on.
"Here's what I'm worried about," Kasich told the crowd. "Are the workers resilient? Can workers figure out that there's another opportunity in another place? And by the way, we're going to explore all of that. Can we get another car? Can GM put something in that plant- that it may not be a car but may create very worthwhile economic activity?"
Kasich said if GM doesn’t do business in Lordstown they should sell the plant. It’s what the company did when its facility near Dayton closed. That allowed a Chinese glassmaker to move in and employ 2,400 people.