Eaton Corp. Plans to Consolidate

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"We got a great team here," VP and General Manager Andy Weeks says of the staff at the two aerospace manufacturing plants they have in Jackson.

It's a refrain Eaton Corp. execs repeated all day long. "We've got great employees. This is no reflection on them, said Human Resources Manager Chris Lewless.

The plan they announced Thursday would move the tubing work they do at their Argyle Street facility in Blackman Township in part to their plant on East Avenue in Jackson and in part out of state and out the country.

Weeks calls it their shot at making sure the company is globally competitive. They blame the need to consolidate on globalization and tough times for their customers--the airlines.

It is no consolation for employees, and the community that fought to keep these buildings open. Blackman township supervisor Raymond Snell says they offered nearly a full tax abatement. Though the company hasn't officially pulled out, he says he considers it a done deal.

"The press release says tentative but we can all read between the lines on that," Snell said.

Eaton Corporation execs plan to meet with the union to discuss the closing and bargain a settlement. Layoffs--if they do happen--won't come for until spring at the earliest.

There is a third Eaton plant in their hydraulics division in Jackson. It employs 160 people. It is not at all effected.