ETM Enterprise, a fiberglass composite manufacturer located in Grand Ledge is letting go of 110 employees. The layoffs happen Thursday. That means about 110 local families will be unemployed and looking for work.
The company is losing business to Mexico said Company Vice President Steve Mohnke, where companies can "get the product more economically." International Truck and Engine Corporation, which was a major customer of ETM Enterprise, decided to switch suppliers to Navistar said Sundstrom. Management says they too weren't given any notice when this change would take place.
"It's a shock to us all, we have been trying to nail down this date with Navistar for several months, and they have been reluctant to give us the exact date that this change was going to take place," said Charlie Mack, a manager at ETM Enterprise.
Mack says these cuts could have happened three years earlier, but the company has fought to stay competitive internationally.
"It just finally got to the point where we could no longer compete with the Mexicans," said Mack.
Most of the layoffs will effect those on the 2nd and 3rd shifts. Mohnke says the company will retain about 140 employees.
Blain Guest is on the second shift and so he won't find out until the end of the day if he still has a job.
"I think they know that they are doing wrong. They could have handled this a bit differently. They know everybody here is going to be upset. You know mad, and they don't want nobody to not work while they are here," said Guest, an employee at ETM.
Guest is frustrated he wasn't given more notice so he could plan ahead. He says the management didn't say anything about the layoffs until last Friday.
"The only reason anybody knows anything in here, is just a bunch of talking going on [rumors]," said Guest.
The layoffs are not coming on a whim to the company. Many senior employees have know the change was coming for about a year, said Jim Sundstrom, the Customer Service Manager. During that time the company tried to attract other truck manufacturers like Peterbilt and Mack to replace the lost business. Sundstrom says that effort was unsuccessful.
"I'm not going to get mad about it. Business is business, but you could have let me know ahead of time," said Guest.
"We are sorry to see it go, naturally. It's a big debt for the business, it's a hug debt for the employment and the community so it's a tough struggle, a tough place to be in," said Mack. "Our major concern now is for our employees. We have a very good strong workforce, and they put in a lot of time an energy here and so we are concerned where this puts them and their family."
Mohnke, who is also the Chief Operating Officer for the company, says local employment agencies will be available to help those who will be looking for jobs.
ETM Enterprises, Inc is a business that is based in Grand Ledge. It was started in 1970. The management says if the company is able to find work to replace what they lost, they hope to hire some of the workers back on.
Late Thursday afternoon I received an email from Jeff Harrison, who owns Searchpath of Mid-Michigan. He says Searchpath is a recruiting firm in Lansing and has open positions that need to be filled by those with manufacturing skills. He encourages all those looking for work to apply at the following link.