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ArvinMeritor holding talks with union on job cuts

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By Sharon Graves

The News-Democrat

The fate of about 49 employees at ArvinMeritor is still being decided as company and union officials meet and try to come to an agreement.

In a cost cutting move, ArvinMeritor has already laid off 142 employees according to Krista Sohm, senior director of corporate communications with ArvinMeritor Inc. The company made an announcement last week it is considering outsourcing its machining operations, which would greatly reduce the workforce at the Carrollton plant.

Sohm said 108 of those currently laid off are from the machining center. If the company does relocate that operation an additional 49 employees would be affected, leaving six employees in that division. The move will have no impact on the casting center at the Carrollton site.

In a press release, Sohm said that the company is in negotiations with United Auto Workers Local 1813, but would not disclose any details of those discussions.  

Judge Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson said that he has spoken with ArvinMeritor officials and that he hopes to have the opportunity to offer the company some type of incentive to entice them to keep these jobs in Carroll County.  

“Right now supposedly there are some negotiations going on with the union,” Tomlinson said.  “I have made the governor’s office aware of what is going on. We can be hopeful we can reverse this thing.”

Repeated attempts to contact union officials for comment on the negotiations were unsuccessful.

ArvinMeritor supplies wheel ends for medium-duty trucks, commercial trucks and trailers according to Sohm, and this relocation plan is in direct response to the slow down in automotive sales.

With the announcement that  General Motors will be closing 13 of its plants for nine weeks this summer, Sohm was not sure what additional affect that might have on the Carrollton site.  

“We are still evaluating what effect, if any, the GM announcement will have on the Carrollton facility,” Sohm said. “We have not officially been notified by GM of their plans for the plants we supply.”

No date has been given for a final decision to be made.