More Than 200 Employees Without Jobs After Plant Closes - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Kilgore - 10/07/02

More Than 200 Employees Without Jobs After Plant Closes

For five months workers at Mansfield Plumbing in Kilgore have been locked out, unable to work after contract negotiations broke down in May.

Tuesday morning all hopes for employees to return to their jobs were dashed when Mansfield Plumbing announced they are closing the plant.

"As of right now the company notified us this morning they give us 90 days notice of their intent to close the facility," says union president, Darrell Bush.

The announcement to union officials came during negotiations this morning at a Kilgore hotel.

"That's really all we know right now. We're fixin' to go back into negotiations," said Bush after the first round of negotiations.

They went back in with several questions. Is there a definite closing date? Would the company allow a competitor to buy the plant? Will employees still receive their retirement?

Down the street employees continued to picket unaware of the company's intent.

"If there's still some hope then we'll be here," says one Mansfield employee.

When negotiations ended hope seemed to be gone as well.

Mansfield Plumbing management, Bob Clarkston had no comment about today's announcement.

During an afternoon meeting union officials broke the news to angry workers.

"This was not our fault. This was their fault and we're just dealing with it the best we can, looking for other jobs," says worker, Joe Wilkerson.

Now workers cling to the hope they will still receive their pension plans. More than 200 employees are affected by the plant's closing.

In a press release this afternoon Mansfield Plumbing said once union workers refused their final offer they had no choice but to close the plant.

All that remains are negotiations on workers' pension, insurance and severance pay.

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