Lima autoworkers call out Moreno

LIMA — Local autoworkers said the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Bernie Moreno, sold out American workers in a press conference Thursday.

Moreno said he stopped selling the Chinese-made Buick Envision at his Beachwood, Ohio, Buick GMC dealership, but UAW 1219 representatives said he lied.

“Moreno did wrong by workers in Lima and across Ohio,” local president Jeff Adams said. “Moreno claims he took a principled stand and that he refused to sell the Envision, but that’s not true. The vehicle was always made in China, and when GM first announced they were importing it to the United States, the UAW called that choice a slap in the face to autoworkers.”

In 2021, Moreno denied selling the car after production was moved to China and claimed he stood up to GM.

“When Buick closed the factory in Michigan to open a factory in China and ship those cars to the U.S., I sent a letter to General Motors – don’t ship me one, that car will not be on my lot,” Moreno previously said. “General Motors sent me a not-very-nice letter back. All kinds of threats. You’ll never be another GM dealer again, you’ll never do this — and I stood my ground and did not sell that car.”

The Moreno campaign shared copies of emails showing the candidate telling Buick his dealership did not sell the Envision, which was first imported from China in 2016, in 2019 in response to the Lordstown Motor Plant closing.

“Following the closure of the General Motors Lordstown Plant in March 2019, which could have been used to move manufacturing of vehicles out of China back to the U.S., Bernie directed the dealership to stop selling them immediately,” Moreno’s former general manager at the dealership Anthony Ries said through the campaign.

UAW Local 2147 member and Lima Troy Area CAP Council president George Jeffries said Moreno lied about this and sold the car for five years.

“When he got caught on his lies, he doubled down and covered it up,” he said. “We can’t trust him to represent the Ohio Workers if we can’t trust him to tell us the truth about what he’s selling.”

A Moreno representative also blamed incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, for the closure of the Lordstown Motor Plant and said Moreno stopped selling the model in response to it.

“After he sold off the inventory he already had on the lot, he refused to take orders for more Envisions,” Reagan McCarthy said. “There is zero contradiction here.”

Ohio voters will choose between Brown and Moreno in this November’s general election.

Jeffries said Moreno was still at fault and lied about that too.

“When I was a kid, we were taught you don’t close the barn door once the horse is out because it doesn’t do any good,” Jeffries said. “And that’s what he tried to do. And then he lied about even doing that.”

In 2021, Brown said he was committed to making the Lordstown plant a hub for electric vehicle manufacturing after it was sold to Foxconn.

Opponents of Brown have consistently claimed that Brown is guilty of selling out Ohio workers for culture war issues, but Adams was resolute in his support.

“If you want to go by votes, just look at Sherrod Brown’s record,” he said. “He has never voted against labor and has always been against bad trade deals like NAFTA. And again, he’s the only one who reached out to us when unemployment was a mess.”

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.