The iOpener: GM Asks Judge To Dismiss Worker Suit; More Plain Dealer Layoffs; Indians Home Opener

The GM Lordstown plant with a Chevy Cruze sign on the side. The plant was idled in early March 2019.
The GM Lordstown plant with a Chevy Cruze sign on the side. The plant was idled in early March 2019. [Tim Rudell / WKSU]

Good morning, iOpeners. It's Monday, April 1, 2019.  No April Fools' Day jokes here, but keep an eye out for pranks and hoaxes today. 

Attorneys for General Motors have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit claiming the automaker sidestepped an agreement with union workers through its plans to idle three plants, including Lordstown. The Warren Tribune Chronicle reports GM's motion argues the United Auto Workers didn't exhaust grievance arbitration procedures contained in the contract. The motion says the contract bars the union from going to court over a contractual dispute while grievances remain open. The UAW sued GM in February over a breach of contract claim. Meanwhile, TJX companies will buy 290 acres of land in Lordstown for a Homegoods distribution center expected to bring 1,000 jobs to the area, with groundbreaking expected this month.

The Local One Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild says they've reached an agreement on a contract with the Plain Dealer through February 2021. Though approximately 35 union layoffs are still expected, the guild says the agreement extends important protections for overtime, vacation and severance pay. Layoffs in the newsroom are expected to be announced today.

The deadline for a new state transportation budget with a gas tax hike came and went at midnight without a new spending plan being signedStatehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports lawmakers are coming back this week hoping to work it out. Senate President Larry Obhof says the most significant disagreement continues to be the increase in taxes on gasoline and diesel. The House and Gov. Mike DeWine have agreed on 11 cents for gasoline and 20 cents on diesel, but the Senate wants 8.5 cents for gas and 13 cents for diesel. Obhof said talks are continuing past the Sunday midnight deadline, since the current budget’s funding will continue.

Kent State University says journalist Bob Woodward is scheduled to speak at the school next month. Kent State President Beverly Warren announced that Woodward, an associate editor for the Washington Post, will speak at the university's student center May 4. She described him in the announcement as "one of the most influential and well-known journalists of our times." The Akron Beacon Journal reports Woodward's talk will coincide with Kent State's commemoration of the May 4, 1970 shootings on the university's campus where four students were killed and nine others were wounded by Ohio National Guard soldiers. KSU says Woodward will reflect on President Richard Nixon's comment that the days after the shootings "were among the darkest" of his presidency. He also will discuss 1969 events and the Vietnam War.

It's the Indians home opener today, parking bans are in effect at noon on streets around the ballpark like East 4th, East 9th, West Huron, Prospect and Carnegie. This is the first year Chief Wahoo will not appear on the teams uniforms, but some groups want the club to stop using the name Indians. Protesters, wanting the club to stop using Indians as a team name, will be demonstrating outside the ballpark. First pitch between the Indians and White Sox is 4:10, Cleveland lost two of three to Minnesota after falling 9-3 to the Twins yesterday. Meanwhile the Browns are back in Berea for offseason workouts; they’ll introduce new receiver Odell Beckham Jr.. at 1:30 today.

Weather: Sunny today, with a high of 39. Partly cloudy tonight as tempeartures go down to freezing. It will be warmer tomorrow with partly sunny skies and a high of 51. Tuesday night, it will only go down to 40. Sunny and a high of 52 on Wednesday, but we might have a wintry mix on Wednesday night with a low of 36. 

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