By Bob Weaver|
The closed B. F. Goodrich plant in Spencer is manufacturing escape slides in India, after
announcing they would not shift production abroad, according to Keith Smith of the
West Virginia Building Trades Commission.
One hundred and seventy-two workers lost their jobs this year, about half from
Calhoun, when Goodrich was to have shifted the operation to Phoenix, Arizona. Only three
Spencer workers took jobs with the company elsewhere.
Former Goodrich union president, John Simers of Mt. Zion, Calhoun County,
indicated many workers had suspicioned the company was covering up.
"Maybe the truth will finally help our workers get some help," he told
Goodrich claimed business with the aerospace industry declined after 9-11,
indicating the Spencer operation was no longer profitable. Workers heard rumors the
company wanted to move some operations to India before the 9-11 attack, and
company employees from India came to the Spencer plant for training, reportedly
Smith obtained internal company e-mails that reportedly show Goodrich is ordering
slides from India. He believes the admission may help former Goodrich employees
obtain extended benefits, like unemployment or special training. He will be
presenting a petition to the Department of Labor.
Goodrich had denied the foreign production since June, but Christine Probett,
president of the companies aircraft interior division said "We are evaluating
production of a number of products in various locations, but no final decisions have
been made for any permanent changes." She indicated the India production would
be a small percentage of what had been produced in Spencer.