UTEC workers blindsided by layoffs starting in March


HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) Layoffs will begin within two months at the Huntington plant of United Technologies Electronic Controls that plans to transfer its operations to Mexico, the city of Huntington has learned.

Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters received a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice that indicated UTEC would begin to eliminate 738 manufacturing jobs at the plant in March, Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly reported. The first round of layoffs will begin March 8 with 75 employees losing jobs, the newspaper reported.

Some employees told Newschannel 15 the first round of cuts was suppose to begin in April. They learned about the changed after watching the evening news.

“Everyone is going to lose their jobs,” said one woman. “Then they drop another bombshell of, ‘by the way we’re going to do this another month early.”

The two women, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of backlash from the company said workers frustrated by the lack of communication and transparency.

“It was implied that if you talk to any media then watch out,” said another woman.

Despite news of the changes workers said management still have not discussed it with them. Worker said they have noticed some noticeable changes around the facility, though, including an upgraded security system and armed security guards in the building 24/7.

“They’re treating us like this,” she said. “All it takes is one person to flip. that’s all it is.”

It was February 2016 when United Technologies announced plans to move its manufacturing department at UTEC to a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico. While the company will keep its headquarters, engineering and product marketing organizations in the Huntington area, the elimination of more than 700 jobs at Huntington’s largest employer rocked the region.

The same week, Indianapolis based Carrier Corp., a United Technology company, announced similar plans to move to Mexico. That plan, which initially called for the loss of 1,400 jobs, was halted in November through a deal with President-elect Donald Trump that reportedly will keep 800-1,100 jobs in Indiana.

At the time that deal was announced, Fetters told NewsChannel 15 that the news gave him hope that the number of jobs that were slated to remain in Huntington (roughly 100) would balloon.

It’s not clear whether that will happen, but it’s clear the layoffs will.

With 75 pink slips set to be handed out come March 8, the Business Weekly reported the remaining layoffs will occur in phases through June 2018.

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