Hundreds of East Texas jobs at risk - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Hundreds of East Texas jobs at risk

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

UPDATE:  More than 400 families are trying to figure out what's going to come next for them. Friday morning, Carrier officials announced they have a proposal to close the Tyler location.

The plant is located in the 1700 block of Duncan Street in Tyler. It's one of the oldest carriers in the U.S. A few years ago, about 800 jobs were cut from this carrier location.

"There ain't no jobs here no more; all the jobs are leaving. It's the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer," said Carrier employee Victor Robles.

Victor tells us he has worked for Carrier for a total of 35 years.

"I've been here 20 years. I came here from California; I worked over there for 15 years, but they shut that plant down. I came over here and now they're shutting this plant down," said Victor.  

We asked Victor if Carrier closed what would be next for him?

"Unemployment. I mean I'm going to be 55 maybe when they shut it down.  I don't know who is going to want to hire me... there ain't no jobs around here," he said.

Mayor Barbara Bass said the proposal of the company's closure did not come as a surprise.

"Once Carrier cut from their high of 1250 people to approximately 400 people, we felt like it was a matter of time, not so much if, but when, and they've obviously given a deadline as to when they're going to be leaving. So now the work is for us to help transition everyone who is staying here to new jobs," Mayor Bass told us.

Victor said the company offered schooling, but he wonders if that's a realistic possibility for him.

"At 55, it's kind of hard to be starting school, so I'm just going to take it one day at a time and see," he said.

Carrier Union leader Blain Strickland told us the company started moving jobs to Mexico a long time ago. Now, he will watch it happen again.

"People are going to take it hard. It's going to be a big economic disaster in Tyler because you know, it's a good manufacturer and high-paying wages and now they're gone to Mexico," Strickland said.

Carrier said the plant will continue to operate with limited staff until 2013.

 

One of East Texas' largest employers has announced  it may be shutting its doors, and hundreds could be out of a job.

This morning, The Carrier Corporation said they have proposed a plan to close their Tyler plant by next year.

The plant is located in the 1700-block of Duncan Street in Tyler.  It is one of the oldest Carriers in the U.S.

A few years ago, about 800 jobs were cut from this Carrier location. 

Today Carrier's Union leader told us there is no saving the Tyler plant, and that the next step is severance packages for those 400 employees. 

He said he will fight to get them every penny they deserve.

Blain Strickland has worked at Carrier for 36 years, and his son works there now, as well.

"People are going to take it hard. It's going to be a big economic disaster in Tyler because you know, it's a good manufacturer and high-paying wages and now they're gone to Mexico," Strickland said.

"Hopefully we'll come out with the best possible package that we can get them."

For the last four years, Strickland has been the union leader, representing 422 employees; people, he says, who will no longer have a job here by next year.

"Carrier Corporation notified the union yesterday that they would be moving 422 jobs to Mexico and then they announced it to the plant this morning," Strickland told us.

Carrier said the plant will continue to operate at some capacity until 2013.  Strickland said operations will eventually phase out, a little piece at a time.

Strickland said, "It's a sad, sad thing to see happening for the people that's been out there and this community."

Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass said the city council had hoped it wouldn't come to this.

"Once Carrier cut from their high of 1250 people to approximately 400 people, we felt like it was a matter of time, not so much if, but when, and they've obviously given a deadline as to when they're going to be leaving. So now the work is for us to help transition everyone who is staying here to new jobs," Mayor Bass told us.

Now, Strickland said, he looks to the future, as the job he worked for nearly 40 years appears to be coming to an end.

"I don't feel like anything can be done to save these jobs, but I urge every American citizen out there to pay close attention to what they're buying, and if it's not made in America, don't buy it," Strickland urged.

Strickland also told us that negotiations will begin next week.

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