Hundreds of General Motors workers gathered in prayer after the announcement that the firm would close a plant in Lordstown.
The workers appeared outside the GM plant on Nov. 29. It is among five plants across the United States and Canada that are slated to close in 2019 as the company moves to lay off about 14,500 workers.
On Monday, GM announced that its assembly plants in Lordstown, Detroit, and Ontario will be shut down. Propulsion plants in White Marsh, Maryland, and Warren, Michigan, will also be “unallocated” next year.
Fox8 reported that GM union members spoke at the prayer vigil on Thursday in the hopes the plant would be saved as well as workers’ jobs. They believe there will be an adverse economic impact if the plant shuts down.
A prayer vigil is held outside the General Motors plant in Lordstown Ohio. General Motors has announced it will close the plant in the end of 2019 affecting 1500 employees. #10tv #gm #lordstown pic.twitter.com/3FiCQyTDF6
— Kevin Landers (@Kevin10TV) November 29, 2018
Venus Walker, who joined the Lordstown vigil, told The Youngstown Vindicator: “It’s so cold. But there’s nothing to block us–rain or cold … We have to fight for our plight.”
Walker added: “Hopefully, the government will hear us.”
The plant in Lordstown will be officially shuttered on March 1.
Ken Smith, 54, said he worked in the plant for about six years before he was laid off. “It’s awful,” he said. “It’s hard to describe just how terrible I feel for the thousands of people it’s going to affect.”
Over 100 workers and their families gathered outside the GM Lordstown complex Thursday afternoon to pray for the future of the plant.
“People don’t know all of their options right now, they’re afraid,” said union member Sandy Hrabowy, WFMJ-TV reported.
“I just turned 49. So yeah, going back to school, I thought I’d be done with school, but when we got this news on Monday I’m like this ain’t going to be good,” added Michelle Ripple.
“My dad worked here and this was a family business,” said David Green, president of union UAW Local 1112, the Business Journal Daily reported. His union represents about 1,500 workers at the facility.
He added: “I knew I had an opportunity to come to work out here and I was very grateful. I want to make sure that kids that are in school now have an opportunity to come out and work here one day too.”
Earlier in the week, sobbing GM workers were seen wiping away tears in Ontario following the announcement their plant would be closed.
“I don’t know how I’m going to feed my family,” Matt Smith, a worker at an Ontario factory, said outside the plant, News.com.au reported. “It’s hard. It’s horrible.”
President Donald Trump criticized the automaker for the closures and layoffs, saying the United States would cut all subsidies.
“Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland,” Trump tweeted on Nov. 27. “We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars.”
“Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get,” he also wrote.
GM, in a statement, claimed it is “committed to maintaining a strong manufacturing presence in the U.S.” and said that “many of the U.S. workers impacted by [plant closures] will have the opportunity to shift to other GM plants,” CNBC reported.
“We appreciate the actions this administration has taken on behalf of industry to improve the overall competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing,” the firm said.