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New Process Gear Workers Look To Move Forward

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npg at sunset

Mike Krafcik

SYRACUSE, N.Y.- On Wednesday, The workers at New Process Gear said “no” to a new contract offer that would have kept the plant alive. This is the second deal in the past two months the United Auto Workers had rejected to try to head off a closing.

This will result in 1,400 jobs at New Process Gear that will soon leave the plant.

“None of our members wanted to see that plant close. They just want a fair day’s pay for the type of work that they do,” said UAW Local 624 President Scott Stanton.

The anticipated loss of New Process Gear is just a small fraction of the 15,000 manufacturing jobs that have left Syracuse in the past 20 years

“Manufacturing was our backbone for decades, it’s what we did well, and it has taken a hit. Companies know they can do it cheaper offshore.” Said Onondaga County Economic Analyst, Kim Hall

These workers have Families to feed

Employees who’ve seen wages and benefits drop 40 percent in the past year have seen enough.

“We just don’t have anything to give anymore; we don’t have any to give in terms of wages, benefits. We have families to support,” said 12 year plant veteran Leonard Early.

Over the past few years, Leonard Early has taken a pay cut of $16 an hour or about $30,000 a year. Early says he’s given up a lot to support his family.

“My automobiles I’ve had to sell, I’ve sold my truck,” Early said. “We’ve cut back on the leisurely things.”

Time to find a new career path

With the exodus of manufacturing jobs, many New Process workers will have to alter their career plans. Salaries for manufacturing and other industries are not as high as many workers once made at New Process Gear.

“Hopefully these people are going into something different. If they do go into manufacturing instead of making $80,000 a year they might only make $50,000,” Hall said.

Employees are eligible under the federal trade act to have their unemployment benefits extended and payment of job re-training for two years.

“I believe these workers will have a difficult time finding jobs,” said Post-Standard Business writer, Charlie Hannagan. “They’ll have to be re-trained and the jobs they will be re-trained at will probably not pay as much as they receive now.”

Leonard Early is already planning ahead; he plans to pursue a career in pharmaceuticals.

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