The Midwest has long been the bastion of American manufacturing. For decades, the region served as the gateway to a new life for migrants seeking to work in automobile plants and steel factories. Perhaps no other city embodies this than Youngstown, Ohio.
For decades the city was a hub for eastern Ohio, with steel foundries still aglow with the lights of the factory.
However, much of the city's population soon departed as the foundries shuttered, culminating in Black Monday in 1973 when 5,000 people lost their jobs. Yet, there was still some manufacturing in the GM Lordstown plant in Ohio.
Now? We found ourselves in yet another similar situation, as GM announced that the plant would close, leading to the loss of 1,400 jobs.
Now there were many justifications offered for this closing, along with the closing of other plants in North America. GM has seen a decline in the number of sales in the car the plant makes, the Chevy Cruze, and the plant only has one shift.
Another could be the tariffs levied on materials by the United States government, which have always been passed onto consumers. GM itself has stated that the immense tariffs on steel and aluminum cost them 1 billion dollars.
There are others, but these are some of the most prominent.
Regardless of the justifications, a solution must be found for these workers. While Representative Tim Ryan and Senator Sherrod Brown have harped on GM relentlessly over this potential catastrophe, the full scope of the effects of this closing should not be ignored.
Losing jobs in this fashion would be immensely detrimental to the region. This region has always been predicated on the industry and losing a significant number of jobs could exacerbate the region's unemployment rate, poverty rate and other factors.
This is not even diving into the opioid epidemic.
In the Steel Valley (featuring the plant), opioid deaths rose in 2017 even as they fell across the state to eight-year lows. Who knows the effects of a closing of this magnitude on the valley? I would not imagine them to be great, even if this is pure conjecture.
Now, I must note that I have a bias here — Ohio is where I spent the vast majority of my life, and even if I was on the other side of the state, I care about all portions of the state. Even with that bias, we should care about the fact that people are about to lose their livelihoods.
This has the potential to make families struggling to make ends meet destitute. President Trump said last year that people should not sell their homes and that all of the jobs were going to return.
Someone needs to make sure these people do not lose their jobs. Reprioritize, add a different product or SOMETHING. People's lives are at stake, and we should stand for no less than the defense of these workers.
I stand with the Lordstown workers. I hope those reading this do too.