Carl Bailey said he had no clue when he headed to work Wednesday morning that the manufacturing plant where he worked as a welder, Mestek Inc., would be shutting down.
"We're working. It's not slow. We were totally blindsided," said Bailey, as he loaded union documents into the trunk of his car for transport to the local lodge.
Mestek told workers and union officials Wednesday that it expects to cease operations at the South Windsor plant at 515 John Fitch Blvd. by October 30. Layoffs are expected to begin after Aug. 10, a man who identified himself only as the plant manager said Wednesday afternoon outside the facility.
The plant, which employs more than 80 people, makes heating systems for commercial and residential buildings, the plant manager said.
In a press release, officials of the Westfield, Mass.-based company said that the facility was being closed and its operations moved to a facility in Arkansas due to "difficult economic conditions and rapidly deteriorating profitability."
Company officials declined to comment further.
The plant manager said that the facility employs 20 salaried workers and 61 hourly employees. The factory's hourly workers are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge 354, District 26, said James Parent, a top Connecticut official with the union.
Mestek said that it would provide severance packages and support to workers as they seek new jobs.
"We will be sitting down with the company and taking a look at the time frame. This was a big surprise," Parent said.
Bailey, president of Local 354, said that workers were stunned by the announcement.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun