By ROGER SCHNEIDER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Cequent Performance Products workers were trying their best to enjoy the annual company Thanksgiving luncheon today, but they knew it could be their last such event.
On Tuesday, union workers at the plant were still waiting to hear the decision by the company’s parent, TriMas Corp. of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., on if the plant will be closed and the 400 jobs moved to Reynosa, Mexico.
“We talked to them yesterday and they said probably it would be Wednesday,” said Deb Hathaway, Steelworkers Local 9550 vice president. “But they are not sure. So, we don’t know what they are up to.”
In October TriMas notified the union that a decision on the plant’s future would be made by Nov. 19 and it was willing to talk about ideas from the union on how the plant could be kept open. But, according to Hathaway, nothing has become of negotiations.
She said that on Saturday the union asked for early arbitration of the negotiations because it appeared no progress could be made. “They said ‘no,’” Hathaway said.
She said she doesn’t think the company will make the announcement today because of the Thanksgiving meal.
“So, everybody is on edge. I think it will be Wednesday because everybody is off for four days and they will have time to cool off,” she said.
TriMas spokesman Al Upchurch confirmed Tuesday that TriMas had not yet announced a decision on the Goshen plant.
The Steelworkers union filed a labor relations lawsuit in federal court in South Bend on Nov. 8. Union officials said that lawsuit is an attempt to have the company stop moving equipment from the Goshen plant to TriMas’ Reynosa facility. The union contends that wording in the local’s contract with Cequent prevents such actions.
On Nov. 16 attorneys for TriMas filed a motion to request the lawsuit be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction by the court.