Eaton Corp. Workers Say "Yes" To Severance Package

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"This is it," Ruben Marquez, president of UAW Local 1966 says, of the vote that went on at the union hall Tuesday afternoon.

The decision to close his plant is still not technically made, but a vote on the severance package for workers from Eaton Corportation's Argyle Street facility seems to bring a layoff ever closer.

"]It just surprises us as the number one plant, they would part our jobs away, send our work elsewhere," Marquez says.

Eaton Corporation announced in November a tentative plan that would eliminate 150 to 190 jobs in the Jackson area. The Argyle plant would close, but the East Avenue aerospace facility would remain in tact.

Eaton Corp. spokesperson Kelly Jasko says Tuesday, "We don't have a final decision yet. We continue to work with representatives from Blackman Township, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the City of Jackson. We hope to have an answer for everyone soon."

Marquez says for their part, they consider the closure a done deal and expect layoffs in June or July. The vote tuesday night would guarantee them $300 per year of service, plus benefits for six months. If they chose to forego those benefits, the dollar figure increases to $450. He calls approval a "no-brainer."

"You vote yes, you get 'x' amount of dollars. No, you get nothing."

Local 475--the workers from the East Avenue facility--also approved a provision that would allow at least 6 of the Argyle plant workers to pick up jobs there.

Both plants could lose workers if the plan is carried out.

The agreement does mention a retirement incentive. That could force attrition that would allow more people to take jobs at the East Ave. facility.