Senator: GM ‘pledges’ jobs

The GM Powertrain Plant in Defiance, OH.
The GM Powertrain Plant in Defiance, OH.

DEFIANCE, Ohio (WANE) – A change at the GM plant in Defiance is putting more than 150 jobs in jeopardy. However, an Ohio Congressman said he’s gotten word those jobs may be here to stay.

GM pledged to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown they will find places for the 157 people affected by changes come to the Defiance Powertrain plant.

“When I got out of school back in the 70’s you did one of three things,” Defiance Mayor Mike McCann said. “You went to college, you went into the service or you went to work at General Motors.”

GM is part of life in Defiance.

“I grew up in Mansfield straight across on U.S. 30,” Sen. Brown said. “I’ve seen what manufacturing jobs do and the loss of manufacturing jobs do.”

When Brown found out GM was pulling the nodular iron production from the Defiance plant, affecting more than 150 jobs, he wrote a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra. In it he told GM– find jobs for these workers either in Defiance, Fort Wayne or Toldeo. He’s gotten a response.

“My understand is GM is pledging to find new jobs in the company for any employees affected by the closing of the iron casting division,” Brown said.

Before GM announced the closure of the division, Mayor McCann had a feeling loss of jobs were coming, but he said at the same time GM gave him hope something new would be coming in the future. What could be coming is anyone’s guess.

“What could come back? I think let your imagination run wild,” McCann said. “Maybe some sort of light assembly of some sort. We’re casting aluminum blocks. We’re making heads and other parts. Then we ship them off somewhere else where they get finished and assembled. Why can’t we do that here?”

A pledge to find the jobs has been made, but no description on what those jobs will look like.

“They’ve said they will do this,” Brown said. “We will work with them and make sure that they do.”

Mayor McCann said in the past GM jobs in Defiance were moved to larger areas like Fort Wayne and Toldeo, but U.S. 24 wasn’t the way it is now. He’s certain he wouldn’t lose a lot of community members if the jobs were found somewhere besides Defiance.

“I can drive from here to Fort Wayne in 35 minutes,” McCann said. “I can drive from here to Toledo in 45 minutes. So I would think a lot of people would say no Defiance is my home, I want to stay in Defiance.”

NewsChannel 15 asked Brown for the specific correspondence where GM pledged the jobs. However, he said it was in verbal correspondence not in written form.