East Texas Plant Lays Off More Than A Tenth Of Workforce - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


East Texas Plant Lays Off More Than A Tenth Of Workforce

Tyler Pipe laid off 117 hourly employees today and 17 salaried workers. The company says it needed to eliminate a production shift from its south plant because of foreign competition.

Tyler pipe says it notified all the salary workers, who were laid off, however, the majority, who are hourly workers, found out when they got to work today and were stopped at the gate.

Once inside, Tyler Pipe employees went to one of two rooms. One was for those that still had a job, the other room was for the workers being laid off.  Many of those who lost their jobs today are members of the local United Steelworkers Union.

"This layoff was unexpected by us," said Tommy Walker, Union Vice President. "It just creates, for us in East Texas extra, with all the employees Goodyear laid off, especially right here at Christmas. Bottom line is, in our opinion and this is strictly opinion, but foreign imports are killing us. It was up north, but now it's hitting home in East Texas and its effecting everybody." In a letter from Tyler Pipe sent to its employees today, the company made the "decision due to softness in the waterworks market coupled with continued competitive pressure from foreign fittings." Tom Mullins of the Tyler Economic Development Board says this is a similar situation to Goodyear, and it was just a matter of time before Tyler began losing manufacturing jobs.

"We've been losing manufacturing jobs in the United States for the last 39 years," said Tom Mullins, President of Tyler Economic Development Council. "Tyler's been fortunate. 
It's a combination of foreign competition and high cost of operating in the United States.  These companies have choices as to make the production cheaper.

Right now, Walker is asking the community for support.

"If we can get together than we can all make it, and that's what we got to hope for," said Walker.  Tyler Pipe said it's not closing the south plant, but rather reducing it to one shift.  The company also says the hourly employees will be eligible for recall to fill open positions.

Union members from Tyler Pipe are working closely with the East Texas Workforce Center to help find jobs for these newly laid off workers. The Workforce Center has set up two meetings this Tuesday, November 21st at 9:00a.m. and then again at 1:00p.m. The sessions will be held at the Workforce Center on Troup highway in Tyler.  

Molly Reuter, reporting, mreuter@kltv.com


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