Lima Area Labor Movement Unites in Support of Mayor Berger

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Workers, leaders praise Berger’s accomplishments for working people, look forward to his continued economic stewardship of Lima area

LIMA – At a press conference held Tuesday at the City Club, Lima area workers and union leaders announced a united endorsement of Mayor Dave Berger for re-election. The announcement shows that Mayor Berger maintains strong support with working people in Lima as these unions collectively represent more than 5,000 resident voters.

Ken Lortz, the Director of the United Autoworkers (UAW) Region 2B stated that the UAW locals in Lima and Allen County unanimously endorsed Berger’s re-election campaign.

“Mayor Berger has vigorously supported UAW jobs in the region, stretching back to the creation of the Training Center at the Lima Engine Plant and the work done to support new engine investments at the plant,” Lortz said. “Dave has been there when autoworkers needed him most, and we know we can continue to count on him."

Jay Bell, President of UAW Local 1219, pointed to Dave’s leadership of the Auto Task Force for more than a decade and his defense of the 16,000 auto jobs in the region during the auto crisis of 2008. “Dave went to bat for all workers during the auto crisis,” said Bell. “We have an ally in Dave when it comes to saving good paying jobs."

Andy Bertogh, the President of UAW Local 2075, highlighted Dave’s leadership of Task Force LIMA which saved the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center from closure on three occasions. “Right now, tens of millions of dollars are being invested in the tank plant, laid off workers are being recalled and more workers will be hired next year,” Bertogh noted. “All of this is happening because of the bi-partisan advocacy of Task Force LIMA and Dave’s active leadership."

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Gary McPheron, Director of Government Affairs for the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 6 and West Central Ohio AFL-CIO representative, pointed to the strength of the local economy with an abundance of hiring at local companies of all sizes. “We have not had an economy this strong in many years,” said McPheron. “Dave’s collaborative efforts for many years has positioned Lima and Allen County very well and, last year, Lima was highlighted as being the best in Ohio for five years of sustained growth."

Mike Knisley, the President of the Lima Council and the President of the Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, noted the many thousands of construction jobs that have resulted from the work accomplished by the Refinery Task Force led by Dave in the late nineties saved the Lima Refinery from shut down and destruction. “I can tell you that the success in saving the Lima Refinery is a gift that keeps on giving,” Knisley said. “Because Dave led the effort, an entire generation of refinery workers and their families have had hundreds of good paying jobs and benefits."

“For my union alone, two thirds of my members would not have jobs today if not for that refinery. Dave’s success is not ancient history, it’s a reality that has a positive impact for the entire community here every day,” Knisley added.

Lisa Brown with UAW Local 211 held up Mayor Berger’s commitment to Lima neighborhoods as her basis for supporting his re-election. “Dave is working hard to make our neighborhoods better places to live by reducing crime, rebuilding streets and sidewalks and clearing blight,” Brown said. “His commitment to community policing and collaborative law enforcement is working and violent crime is down 30 percent in the Lima since 2008."

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