HUNTINGTON, Ind. (NETWORK INDIANA): Employees at the UTEC plant in Huntington are preparing for the worst as the next round of layoffs comes next week.
Union leaders says they expect around 100 people to be out of a job next week, as the company continues its plan to move jobs to Mexico.
“They’ve really screwed these people over,” said Bill Davis, president of the IBEW Union Local 983. “I’m going to be able to retire. It’s not going to hurt me, but it’s going to hurt the group that I’ve represented for 30 years.”
The parent company of UTEC also owns the Carrier plant in Indianapolis where layoffs could begin as early as August. Roughly 550 positions from Indianapolis are also heading to Monterrey, Mexico where Carrier has a significant operation and several facilities.
The next round of layoffs in Huntington would leave around 500 production jobs left. United Technologies says that workers in Huntington could get the same benefits as the Carrier workers that were being laid off in Indianapolis. For example, anyone who is 60-years-old with 15 years on the job or 55-years-old with 30 years on the job at the Carrier plant would be eligible for a full pension.
However, Susan Cropper says even though she meets the requirement of those benefits, she isn’t eligible and will have to settle for a severance package because the union contract is different in Huntington than in Indianapolis.
“It’s an issue of fairness,” said Cropper. “This company can afford to do this for the nine employees in our facility.”
In response, United Technologies says:
“Union contracts and benefit plans differ from business to business, union to union, and facility to facility. This particular provision has been part of the Carrier Indianapolis facility’s pension plan with the United Steelworkers for many years. It was not a benefit provided as part of the recently agreed-upon separation benefits.
Regardless of individual circumstances or facility of employment, we remain appreciative of all of our employees’ hard work and dedication and are providing impacted employees with a comprehensive benefits package to help ease the transition.”