The southwest Iowa town of Red Oak faces the loss of four-hundred jobs after a major employer announced plans to close its factory. Officials with Magna International Incorporated’s Intier group, parent company to Romech manufacturing in Red Oak, say difficult economic conditions facing the auto industry are responsible for the impending loss of jobs at the plant, which manufactures seating mechanisms for the automotive industry.
The company plans to consolidate its production lines with other facilities over the next 15 months. Full production at the Red Oak plant will continue for at few more months, with reductions in the workforce slated to begin in the second quarter of 2006 and continue in stages until operations cease at the end of next year.
Company officials say employees at Romech will be provided with a severance package and re-employment assistance. Angie Timblin is director of the Red Oak Chamber of Commerce. She says she’d heard rumors about Romech’s closing and got the official news this morning. Timblin says “It will be detrimental to our community, to Red Oak and to surrounding areas. I feel very sorry for those who will be effected by that.”
While the Romech plant is one of the area’s largest employers, she feels confident people who are displaced will find other work. Timblin says the Chamber and the Red Oak Industrial Foundation are working hard to bring in new businesses which she says “hopefully, we can work to make the problem not so much of a problem.” She says it’s a resilient community that -will- survive this bout of bad news. Timblin says several other large employers remain in Red Oak, including Communications Data Services, Johnson Controls — which makes parts for car batteries, and Fresco, a maker of plastic wrapping for Starbucks coffee shops.