Where Would Kelly Employees Go? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/01/03 - Tyler

Where Would Kelly Employees Go?

Kelly Springfield employees in Tyler still have no word on whether a strike will take place, or if negotiators will go back to the drawing board and work on a new contract.

The local business community is also waiting anxiously for the final outcome of Smith County's 7th largest employer. While they remain optimistic about the plant's future, the business sector is preparing for all the potential outcomes. At the top of the list is whether or not the local job market can absorb 1200 manufacturing employees if the occasion arises?

If economic theory proves true, every job inside a primary employer like Kelly Springfield supports two to three other jobs in the community, says Tom Mullins, Director of Tyler Economic Development Corp.

"If that (one) job goes away, it pulls another two or three jobs with it, Mullins adds.

Mullins attributes Tyler's ability to survive a rocky national economy to the market's diversity in employers. But if Kelly goes, Mullens believes that foundation will be rocked slightly.

"It will take along time maybe years before you can replace what's lost and bring the city back up to the level it is today," says Mullins.

If Kelly were to go, Mullins says healthcare facilities, retailers and other local industry would suffer a loss. Doctors would have fewer patients, and stores fewer consumers.

And what about plant employees who are laid off? Losing Kelly means the city loses $161 million d in direct and indirect payroll.

"It would be hard for employers to match their wages," says Fred Arntt with Tyler Professional Staffing. "The type of work they're doing wouldn't be adaptable to other areas."

Arntt says the manufacturing sector has not been hiring large numbers of people. He speaks aloud t the one question many are wondering, "where are they going to go."

Mullins believes those close to retirement could go ahead and retire early. But he says the possibility exists some would have to leave if the plant closed.

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