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|05-01-03: Stamco to close in New Bremen
|By LANCE MIHM
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
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
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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