Hundreds face unemployment, severance packages negotiated - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Hundreds face unemployment, severance packages negotiated

A severance agreement has been worked out between the Carrier Corporation and hundreds of plant workers in Tyler, who are now facing unemployment.

In January, Carrier announced they were shutting down the Tyler Plant at the end of 2013, but some workers will be laid off long before then.

Carrier's union leader spoke with us about these negotiations and what is next.

"Carrier has a slogan it's called (ACE) Achieving Competitive Excellence. The new term for that is Achieving Cheap Employment," union leader Blain Strickland told us.

Strickland said Carrier will move nearly 500 jobs to Mexico.

"We asked them when we started negotiations if there was anything we could do to save these jobs and keep them in Tyler. Their answer was, ‘You could offer to work for minimum wage and we're still moving,'" Strickland said.

A decision this 36-year veteran says is unrespectable.

"To sell their country out like this at a time jobs are desperately needed here in the United States is a shame and a disgrace," he said.

With the plant closure decided the only thing left to negotiate were severance packages.

"One week pay for every year of service and six months continued insurance after we get laid off," Strickland explained.

The package is manageable for Strickland who told us he is one year away from retirement, but devastating for hundreds of others.

"The young people out there…I know everyone of them and it's just a shame to look in their faces and see them wondering what's out there," Strickland said.

The layoffs will affect more than employees and their families.

"We can expect an estimated $400,000,000 loss every year until the economy has a chance to find other opportunities and replace jobs that were lost," said Tom Mullins with Tyler's Economic Development Council.

With the end in sight, Mullins told us whether those employees decide to stay in the area or go out of state they need to begin their job hunt now.

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