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Share your thoughts: An Ohio factory closure stirs populist anger. Who will that help in 2020?

United Auto Worker Joe Nero “Buffalo Joe” picketed outside the General Motors plant in Lordstown.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

They stood outside in the dark, illuminated by barrel fires and the headlights of trucks lurching by, and they were angry.

The Chevrolet Cruze plant behind them had been idle for six months and shed thousands of jobs. They were the laid-off, reassigned, and retired factory workers who had spent decades inside, fitting headlights and slipping windows into doors as compact sedans took shape on the assembly line.

Now, in mid-September, they were back. General Motors workers had just walked off the job around the country, striking in protest of tiered wages, eroded job security, and a prosperous company they felt was not sharing enough of its profits with employees who had made sacrifices to help keep it afloat during leaner times. Here in Lordstown, there were virtually no jobs left to walk away from. But the auto workers, past and present, came anyway, bringing the strike to the doorstep of a ghost plant.


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