July 17, 2008

Tank Plant Cuts: 83 Workers to Be Laid Off

By Brian Evans, The Lima News, Ohio

Jul. 17--LIMA -- With the U.S. military cutting orders for a mine-resistant vehicle used by Marines in Iraq, 83 people at Lima's tank plant will lose their jobs in the next few weeks -- at least for now.

Keith Deters, plant manager of Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, 1161 Buckeye Road, Lima, said the plant sent notification this week to 83 employees who will be laid off next month.

Deters said all 83 employees are working through the plant's Cougar program; they received notification this week that their jobs will be phased out in August.

The reason for the cuts, Deters said, is because the Marines are pulling back orders for Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Vehicles.

"Subsequently, we are left with not enough work," Deters said. "We were anticipating work taking us into 2009 [for the Cougar program]. We learned earlier this year we would be building fewer than expected. We then expected to get through the April-May time frame. Fortunately we got to August. ... It's unfortunate we have to make these reductions at this time, especially with economy the way it is."

During the last three weeks of this month, Deters said, they will go through each department and begin the phase-out.

The plant currently employs 1,050 people, making a variety of military vehicles, and armor for those vehicles, supporting the war effort in Iraq.

"We do look to pick up work again in the spring next year," Deters said. "Hopefully, we can bring back the majority of these people; hopefully we can get them back into our facility. ... We're very appreciative of the efforts they provided -- not only for us but for the Marines using them in support of the war effort."

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