New Process Gear, a company owned by
Canadian auto parts giant Magna International Inc. (TSX:MG.A),
plans to lay off more than 1,650 workers at its suburban Syracuse,
N.Y. plant over the next several weeks, according to union
More than 300 other workers were laid off Jan. two as United Auto
Workers officials continue negotiating a new contract with Magna,
NPG's parent company. Before the layoffs, the plant employed about
2,700 people making transmission parts.
A UAW handbill distributed Wednesday said there would be 96 more
layoffs this week, 1,123 next week and 437 the week of Jan. 28. The
announcement said workers should contact their union representative
or supervisor about the length of their layoff.
The handbill said in bold capital letters: ``WE ARE SIMPLY
FIGHTING FOR OUR SURVIVAL!''
Neither UAW nor company officials would comment in detail on the
negotiations or the layoffs.
``I will not comment on this issue because, (as you know), we are
still going through negotiations, and it would be premature for me
comment,'' said Magna spokeswoman Tracy Fuerst.
But she said job cuts are needed because of slack demand from
``We have to get a good agreement for the plant,'' said UAW Local
624 President Doug Havens. That agreement must include more
investment in the facility, Havens said.
NPG was formerly owned by DaimlerChrysler, which targeted New
Process Gear for closing during national auto contract talks in
2003. Instead, DaimlerChrysler sold a majority of the plant to
Magna. DaimlerChrysler got the union's blessing for the deal by
promising to pay workers then at New Process Gear through 2011.
Magna promised to invest US$75 million in the plant when it
bought NPG, but workers said they see little evidence of that. Magna
has told the union it cannot afford to keep NPG open with its
current cost structure and it planned to close the plant. The union
has persuaded the company to keep negotiating.