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05-01-03: Stamco to close in New Bremen
The Daily Standard

    NEW BREMEN - The 110 plant workers at Stamco in New Bremen were stunned Wednesday when they were told the company will close its doors in a six-month phase out beginning immediately.
    All the equipment and services of Stamco, owned by Genesis Worldwide II, will be moved to a plant in Callery, Pa.
    "I don't want to speak for the employees, but this probably came as quite a shock to them," Genesis CEO Walter Stasik said after the announcement to employees. "It is not a fun part of the job by any means. When you are dealing with people's livelihood, it is never easy."
    Officials at United Steel Workers of America Local Union 4839 in Coldwater, the plant's union, were surprised and angered by the move.
    "I got a call at 9 a.m. yesterday from the company lawyer telling me they were closing it down and that was the first I heard about it," said the employees' union representative John Rigling. "He told me we needed to sit down and work out a closure agreement."
    Stasik said the closure was due to the lagging economy, which has had a particularly negative effect on the aluminum and steel industry. The New Bremen plant engineers and manufactures equipment used to process steel.
    "Everyone knows the condition of the steel industry," Stasik said. "We had to do something in order to remain profitable as a company."
    Stamco had faced closing in September 2001 when its former owner filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company was bought out three months later by Genesis Worldwide II, a company created by investment firms Pegasus Partners II, L.P., and KPS Special Situations Fund, L.P.
    Rigling did not agree with the company's take on needing to consolidate with the Pennsylvania factory to make the company  profitable.
    "We sat down and worked out an agreement and took a 15 percent cutback during the buyout to maintain our jobs and make the company profitable," Rigling said. "And now they are leaving town on us."
    Local workers will be given opportunities to relocate for employment purposes, but Stasik was unable to give a number or what type of jobs will be offered to local workers.
    Rigling said he met with union President-Elect Larry Berron to discuss options for the employees.
    "But our options are very few," he added.


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