Friday, September 22nd, 2017

These times call for prayers, plans for workers

Posted: Friday, February 12, 2016

Two Indiana plants, one in Huntington the other in Indianapolis, that make products for the heating, ventilating, and the air conditioning industry are shifting their manufacturing operations to Mexico. These moves will cost about 2,100 workers their jobs, company officials announced Wednesday, February 11. The Huntington plant of UTEC employs around 800 workers with 700 employees to be displaced.

The Indianapolis plant, known as Carrier, is shuttering its manufacturing facility eliminating about 1,400 jobs during the next three years. The employees of UTEC make microprocessor-based controls for the HVAC and refrigeration industries. UTEC and Carrier Corporation are units of Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corporation.

Alex Housten, UTEC’s managing director, told WANE-TV the company will work with employees and union officials to manage the 700 layoffs that will accompany the closure of the plant in Huntington. “We are aware of the effect on our employees and the community, making this a difficult decision,” said Housten, adding that the move to Mexico “is the best way for us to remain competitive.”

Mayor Brooks Fetters commented, “While there is nothing that the city did to cause this and nothing the city can do to prevent this; this decision has a huge emotional and economic impact on our community.” He continued, “I ask for everyone’s prayers on behalf of the affected employees at UTEC and their families, and the leadership at Huntington UTEC as they deal with realities beyond their control.”

Tiffanney Drummond, representing the Huntington County Community Learning Center, reached out with these comments, “My heart is heavy for our community. The Learning Center Development Team has already started planning the role the Learning Center can play in this situation.” She continued, “We have been in contact with both Ivy Tech and WorkOne, and conversations are taking place between those groups to assess how we can find funding for the potential courses to be offered to the displaced workers.”

UTEC is considering options for the facility and its employees, and will communicate plans with employees and community leaders as soon as they are concrete. In a statement, Carrier said some separation benefits, including one that pays for college tuition, books and fees, will be available.