By Congressman Michael Turner
Our community recently received the disappointing news that the Moraine GM Assembly plant will close. The plant is expected to close after the completion of the 2009 model year and will cause the loss of approximately 2,500 jobs. Additionally, the secondary impact on companies that do business with the GM plant will be extremely significant.
I know firsthand just how important this plant is to many Miami Valley workers and their families. My father, Ray, worked for General Motors for 42 years as a member of IUE Local 801 and last year I had the honor of touring the Moraine GM Assembly plant with him and introducing him to the plant’s employees. In the time since my dad’s GM employment, however, the plant has had to deal with many difficult challenges. One of these challenges, the recent upward trend in energy prices, has greatly changed the market for automobile producers. Vehicles like the Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) made in the Moraine GM Assembly plant are no longer in great demand because of their lack of fuel efficiency.
In response to the GM announcement, I have spoken with Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez to urge them to provide our community with federal assistance. Both agreed to appoint a special liaison to our community who will hold meetings in Dayton and Wilmington. During these meetings, local leaders will have the opportunity to be briefed about aid that might be available and explain what resources would be most helpful to our community.
Also, during a recent meeting of the Ohio Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C., I took the opportunity to discuss the GM Moraine Assembly plant issue with my colleagues. I urged them to join me in pursuing federal assistance for the workers in our region who would be affected by the closings of both DHL and the Moraine GM Assembly plant. The entire Ohio Delegation is supportive of our community as we face GM, Delphi, and DHL job losses.
The Miami Valley has a proud legacy of fine craftsmanship in the manufacturing sector. Though this is a difficult time, our community is home to a wealth of talent and ingenuity that has always benefited our local economy. Our local leaders are determined to work as a team to respond to the closing of the Moraine GM Assembly plant. Our community will work to find new sources of employment for our talented workforce, including opportunities for reuse of this factory. I will work to make certain that your priorities are represented in Washington, D.C. and that the federal government does its part in helping our region navigate through these difficult times.