The documentary that traces the lives of thousands of workers laid off from their auto jobs in Ohio during the 2008 recession, produced by a company formed last year by the former U.S. president and first lady, fails to mention the role President Barack Obama played in the factory’s closing, Ohio Rep. Mike Turner writes in a column for The Wall Street Journal.
“The American Factory,” the first project to come from the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground, follows workers laid off from their jobs at a General Motors plant in Moraine, Ohio, some of whom were hired six years later by Chinese company Fuyao Glass America to make automotive glass in the same plant. It aired on Netflix in August.
“A good story gives you the chance to better understand someone else’s life. It can help you find common ground. And it’s why Michelle and I were drawn to Higher Ground’s first film,” Obama said in a Twitter posting on Wednesday.
“The Obama administration’s auto bailout highly favored the UAW and its members. The GM plant in Moraine was unionized by the IUE-CWA,” Turner writes. “So — despite being one of the top GM facilities for quality, efficiency and production in the country — it was shuttered, and its employees were put at the back of the line when requesting transfers to other GM plants. Any non-UAW employees looking to transfer were forced to start as new hires, wiping clean any wages, tenure, and benefits built up during careers at other GM plants.”
“’American Factory’ documents the UAW’s efforts to unionize the reopened auto glass factory without any mention of the same union’s direct role in the GM plant’s closure,” he added “The Dayton community was left out in the cold — thousands of jobs lost, families devastated, longtime GM workers out on the street looking for work.”
The U.S. government’s $80.7 billion bailout of the auto industry were initiated by former President George W. Bush but largely overseen by Obama.
Obama has emphatically defended the bailout, arguing it was necessary to prevent massive job losses.