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Trump fails America. GM Cuts pays to $11

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tw0122   Wednesday, 03/06/19 11:56:03 PM
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Post # of 716 
Trump fails America. GM Cuts pays to $11 an hour for workers. LORDSTOWN, Ohio — Scott Mezzapeso had to do something last month he never imagined: call his ex-wife and warn her that he might not be able to pay child support on time. Mezzapeso has a tattoo of his daughter on his left arm and rarely misses her high school softball games, but money has become extremely tight. General Motors is shuttering its plant here, and Mezzapeso is one of roughly 5,400 casualties.
Mezzapeso earned $22 an hour with good benefits at Magna, a GM supplier that made seats for the Chevy Cruze, but he was laid off last summer as the auto giant scaled back Cruze production and suppliers did the same. Now he makes $11 an hour working part time at Bruno Bros. Pizza, the only job he has found after months of sending out his résumé.
With GM set to shut down production here Wednesday, Lordstown shows how the nation’s booming jobs market is still leaving vast segments of America behind. Last year was the best for manufacturing jobs in more than two decades, but the Youngstown, Ohio, region where Lordstown is located has continued to lose manufacturing jobs in recent years. About a quarter of the country’s metro areas have faced the same fate, many in the Rust Belt, according to data provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The common prescription for laid-off workers from economists and business leaders — retrain and switch careers or move to another part of the country with more jobs — is proving inadequate for workers such as Mezzapeso.
“To be 100 percent honest, I thought I would be laid off for a few months and then go back to work,” Mezzapeso said. “At 47, I’m too old to go back to school.”
Most jobs Mezzapeso sees pay half of what he used to earn. His 1999 Chevy Tahoe gets lousy gas mileage, making it difficult to take a low-paying job a long drive away.
Friends urge him to go to school and try welding or advanced manufacturing. He and other GM casualties here qualify for the federal government’s marquee retraining program — Trade Adjustment Assistance — that covers all costs for up to two years of classes plus a weekly stipend, meaning they get paid to attend school.
But only about 30 percent have enrolled in TAA, according to Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services.
Many workers echo Mezzapeso’s sentiments that they are too old to go back to school or that they tried but found the classes overwhelming.
When Mike Bajnok lost his $30-an-hour GM job last summer, he followed the state of Ohio’s advice and used TAA to enroll in a program to become a “CNC machinist,” a worker who can set up and operate specialized heavy machinery

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