Engine plant to close this summer - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Engine plant to close this summer

April 9, 2003

"That's us, that's the U.S.A. That's our work going to Brazil and it's on a daily basis," Tecumseh quality control worker Larue Davis said.

The long-time employees at Tecumseh Products in Douglas watched as the machines they work on and with it their jobs go South of the equator.

"535 will be layed off June 6th, by June 30th all the rest will be gone," employee Victor Benson said.

"I thought everything was going well myself, then they came up and said we're going to have to shutdown," employee Thomas Watts said. 

So why are they closing? The corporate office says its a manufacturing restructuring action. Everyone knows labor comes cheaper in Brazil, but for hardworking employees, that answer isn't good enough.

"You want us to spend our hard earned money, but you want to send it somewhere else for cheaper labor, you pay for what you get," Larue Davis said. 

Meanwhile the company is assuring its customers who buy their engine parts in products ranging from lawn mowers to freezers it will be business as usual the next two months.

"They are going to try to put out a good project until it closes," Macorian Saffold said.

But after that it's safe to say for laid off workers there will be no love lost.

"For every dime we lose I hope Tecumseh loses a dollar," employee Valencia Barnes said.

 One figure these women wouldn't want to hear, $11.3 million. That's how much more Tecumseh made in 2002 than the year before. Now they're hoping taking their machines to a cheaper facility will help them make more.

Employees at Tecumseh will receive a signoff payment of $200 for every year they worked there. The company estimates they'll spend about $20 million in severance payments and moving their equipment.

posted at 6:06 p.m. by dave.d'marko@walb.com