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TriMas Closing Down Cequent Plant in Goshen

Cequent Performance Products is moving out from its Goshen. Ind. plant and shipping production to a facility in Reynosa, Mexico, parent company TriMas Corp. announced Wednesday (Nov. 21).

As reported by the Elkhart Truth, it was an unwelcome piece of Thanksgiving news for hundreds of employees of the Goshen facility, where they make hitches and structural components for RVs and trailers. The 450 local jobs will end throughout next year, the company announced.

“They told us they made the decision and then they wished us ‘Happy Thanksgiving,’” said Deb Hathaway, vice president of steelworkers local 9550, which represents more than 350 of the 450 affected people.

“It was a very gloomy situation,” she said, and it will loom heavily on hundreds of family Thanksgiving gatherings tomorrow. “We’re all so thankful we just lost our jobs,” Hathaway said.

In a written announcement of the closing, Dave Wathen, president of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based TriMas, said, “While these types of decisions are never easy, we make them with significant consideration.”

He continued, “For those employees affected by the closure, the company is committed to working with them during this transition,” said Wathen.

According to the Elkhart Truth report, it’s been a contentious process since the company announced the possibility of moving the jobs last month. The union representing most of the local employees filed a federal lawsuit against the company, the company started having police come to the plant, and earlier today production stopped due to a bomb threat.

That had workers waiting outside for about 2 1/2 hours, Hathaway said. Then company officials made the announcement just before the end of the first shift. The company did allow second-shift workers to use vacation time to take the afternoon off without forfeiting holiday pay, she said.

At the first of next year, the company will tell workers how they’ll start to eliminate departments. Hathaway expects production to move to a single shift as things ramp down.

Meanwhile, the union continues to fight the move, she said. “We’re still fighting,” hoping to push the move into 2014.

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