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Local GE Plant Survives While Others Close

Post Time:Jul 28,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:1052

What´s looking like bad news for a Niles, Ohio, General Electric plant could be good news for the Somerset GE glass plant.

Diminishing demand for incandescent light bulbs, plus pending legislation that would cut energy usage, has caused GE officials to state their intent to close the 109-worker Mahoning Glass plant in Niles by the end of July 2010.

If that plant closes, most of the work that had been done there would be transferred to the Somerset Glass plant to help make its production more stable, explained GE consumer and industrial manager of communications Janice Fraser.

The move wouldn´t necessarily create an abundance of jobs at the local plant, but it would help ensure the competitiveness of the plant.

Both the Mahoning and Somerset glass plants produce glass bulbs used for incandescent floodlights and spotlights.

Fraser emphasized that the Mahoning plant closure is not a done deal. Officials have only issued an "intent to close" the plant.

"(The union representing the plant) has 60 days to offer ideas on how to make the facility competitive," Fraser said. "If they can´t come up with ideas, most of the work will be transferred to the Somerset plant."

Workers at the plant in Ohio were already working only part of the year, and those employed at the Somerset plant have experienced some "temporary lack of work," Fraser said.

Transferring the work to one plant would make sense from a business perspective, because it would make that plant in this case, the one located in Somerset more stable.

Fraser said the Somerset plant was chosen as the plant that would remain open because "they are in a better cost position and they offer a broader array of products."

The global incandescent lighting market has been cut in half over the past five years.

"It is costly and inefficient to have multiple plants doing similar production only part of each year when one plant can do it all," said Ron Wilson, general manager of North America Lighting Manufacturing.

Workers at the GE Consumer and Industrial Kentucky Glass plant in Lexington also received word on Thursday that it will likely close by July of 2010. Fraser said that plant makes glass for the incandescent type of light bulb used in households that is going to be "legislated out of existence" in the U.S. beginning in 2012.

The Lexington plant, in operation since 1946, employs 125.

Another household incandescent bulb assembly plant in Winchester, Va., the last U.S. factory remaining which makes such bulbs is also on the list of facilities slated for closure by mid-2010.

GE was formed in 1892 through the merger of the Edison Electric Co. and the Thomson Houston Company.

Source: GE / I Stock AnalystAuthor: shangyi

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