LAKE CITY, Minn. (KTTC) -- Automotive parts manufacturer Federal-Mogul has decided to move the production work of about 100 people at Lake City to plants in Mexico and Argentina over the next 12 months.
"We have been having conversations with employees at the facility," said Federal-Mogul spokesman Jim Burke in Southfield, Michigan. "The manufacturing of pistons will be moved to our piston plant in Puebla, Mexico. Moving the work to Puebla will increase our capacity utilization at that facility, which is more efficient for the company."
But the president of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 650, Fran Richardson, says he was told in meetings with the plant's upper management this past week that although most of the work will be shifted to a Federal-Mogul plant in Puebla, Mexico, that some may go to Federal-Mogul Corporation Tortuguitas in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Workers at the piston manufacturing line at the company's Lake City aluminum foundry will be directly affected. Burke confirmed that they will have a chance to move into other jobs at the Federal-Mogul operation as openings occur.
"It's not good news in any fashion for anybody involved," said Richardson in an interview Saturday evening. "We will lose a hundred positions over the next five, twelve, 14 months. We may be able to absorb 25 locally. I feel for the potential 75 families what will be displaced by this, they might have to look at possibly relocating."
Richardson said he first learned of the company's decision on Tuesday. Outside Federal-Mogul's two plants in Lake City Friday afternoon, workers we approached declined to comment. Those affected by the outsourcing of the jobs will have the opportunity this coming week to meet with unemployment agencies.
"DEED, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and the TAA program will be involved," said Richardson. "Papers have been filed by the local staff for TAA layoffs."
The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program helps U.S. workers whose jobs are lost to foreign countries.
Puebla is the fourth largest city in Mexico, and is located between Mexico City and the port city of Veracruz. One of the largest Volkswagen plants in the world is located in Puebla, and auto parts suppliers have clustered there in recent years. Puebla's population in 2010 was 1,539,819.
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