Ohio GE Workers Call on Portman to back Buy American Light Bulb legislation in Congress to Save Ohio Jobs and American Manufacturing
Poll: 74% of Ohio GE Workers Identify as Republican, Underscoring Bipartisan Support of Sen. Sherrod Brown and GOP Mayor of Bucyrus
COLUMBUS, OH – Today, dozens of Ohio General Electric workers protested job cuts recently announced that impact nearly 200 local workers in the Central Ohio region. These GE workers, who are union members of IUE-CWA, held a rally and press conference at the Columbus office of U.S. Senator Rob Portman to deliver a petition calling on the Senator and Congressional leaders in both parties to act to save these Ohio jobs. Click here for hi-res photos from the Columbus event.
People in a rally with signs to save Ohio jobs
A new union poll of Ohio GE workers at the Bucyrus plant signing today’s petition shows 74 percent identify as Republican, underscoring the growing bipartisan support to protect these jobs as leaders like GOP Mayor of Bucyrus Jeff Reser, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Ryan who have spoken out in support. GE workers say they hope their actions will push Sen. Portman to join his fellow Ohioans in supporting their jobs and community. Many of the Bucyrus workers say they feel especially betrayed because they’ve long been loyal to Sen. Portman.
Today’s Columbus event highlighted the call for Congressional leaders in both parties to come together to support new legislation to require the U.S. Defense Department to buy Made in America LED light bulbs, a move that would protect good Ohio manufacturing jobs. State and national leaders stood with workers at today’s press conference:
Barb Basore, third-generation GE worker in Bucyrus whose family has given almost 500 years combined service to GE in Ohio: “Most of the workers at GE Lighting are lifelong Republicans and have consistently voted for Senator Portman over the years. If our plant closes, my entire family – me, my husband, and my daughters – will lose our jobs. And my husband’s brother, his wife, and several of my cousins will lose theirs too. Both Senator Portman and GE Lighting need to return the loyalty that so many of us have shown them. Senator Portman needs to act now, stand with Ohio workers and their families, and help make Ohio the lightbulb capital of America again.”
Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga: “Senator Portman has the opportunity to join both his fellow Republicans in the U.S. House as well as Democrats in the U.S. Senate in protecting good-paying union jobs, and he should do that today.”
Mayor Jeff Reser (R-Bucyrus): “Protecting good-paying union jobs in Ohio and across the country should not be a partisan or controversial issue. We should have seen more action from everyone to protect these jobs and to protect our economy.”
IUE-CWA National Union President Carl Kennebrew: “Senator Portman has the power to protect these jobs and create even more jobs for workers in Ohio, and we are determined to make sure he does that.”
IUE-CWA Local 84704 Union President and GE Bucyrus Worker Will Evans: “Senator Portman, it’s not too late to act now by supporting new Buy American Lightbulb legislation in the U.S. Senate, so this time, with by-partisan support it passes. Please do this now and show that you stand with us and with Ohio workers. This isn’t just about protecting our jobs today. This legislation would transform the economics of the lightbulb industry, bringing hundreds, if not thousands of jobs back from China.”
On March 9, GE Lighting announced its intention to close its manufacturing plant in Bucyrus, a move that would eliminate 174 jobs, devastating workers, their families, and the local economy. That same week, Republicans in the Senate torpedoed a Buy American Lightbulb amendment that could have protected those jobs. The amendment had previously passed a House committee with a unanimous bipartisan vote.

Bucyrus residents are expressing concern about the impact of the closure, and the city’s Republican Mayor Jeff Reser has likened the news to a “day of mourning” for his community, calling it a “tremendous blow” for workers and their families.

The bad news for Bucyrus is just the latest in General Electric’s rush to offshore and outsource domestic manufacturing jobs across Ohio and the country – jobs that have been integral to the manufacturing giant’s success – and comes despite GE having received billions in taxpayer funding for decades.

© Doro 2019 | All rights reserved.