1/10/08

Labor-state gets too costly, UAW faces dues hit

The company that owns the New Process Gear plant in DeWitt (NY) is notifying its workers it can no longer afford to keep the plant open, if it can't lower it's cost of doing business.

There have been hundreds of layoffs at the plant, including just over 300 that began January 1st, however there is now very serious talk about closing the facility. A direct communication was made Wednesday morning to unionized workers. A membership bulletin was handed to employees as they left the overnight shift.

The bulletin says in late December, "Magna Powertrain informed the bargaining committees and International Union that they could not 'afford' to keep New Process Gear open at its current cost structure and were planning to close our plant in the immediate future. On December 20th, after many long hours of heated debate, we were able to convince Magna to keep negotiating and continue to look at every possible scenario that would make financial sense and keep our doors open."

The union says the International UAW approved release of Magna's plant closing threat, as negotiations continue with the company. Almost 3,000 people depend on new process gear for a living. The majority of the hourly workers are covered by a national agreement with Chrysler, the plant's former owner.

However, that deal will not matter much if Magna can't strike a local deal with the union to cut costs and keep the factory open. The UAW says it continues to take a firm stance at the bargaining table, against Magna's financial proposals, demanding instead that the company invest more in New Process Gear.

No one from the union or the company returned phone calls from NewsChannel 9 Wednesday morning.

(9wsyr.com)

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