As dozens of UAW members from Lordstown, Ohio, protested outside, the union's president on Tuesday called on General Motors to keep open U.S. plants it has unallocated as part of a sweeping cost-cutting plan.

Gary Jones, speaking at the handshake ceremony to open what are expected to be contentious contract negotiations, argued that GM owes the union a commitment to invest in its U.S. manufacturing footprint.

"We invested in you; now it's your turn to invest in us," Jones said. "We will leave no stone unturned to protect our brothers and sisters at the locations put on the block. We call on GM to keep these plants open and allocate more products on American soil. It can be done."

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