A company that makes electrical components is closing its factory in the eastern Iowa town of Clinton. Company officials say a decision was not made until after consultation with the local union to determine whether the union could offer an alternative plan that could keep the Thomas & Betts plant open.
The plant in Clinton employs 135 people, most of whom are union members, according to Tricia Bergeron, vice president investor and corporate relations. She is quoted saying, “A decision has been made to close the Clinton facility and move production to other Thomas & Betts’ facilities.”
Bergeron added, “Negotiations were productive, but at the end of the day, the union did not come up with a satisfactory alternative and we were unable to agree with all the objectives.” The company will consolidate production of non-metallic electrical outlet boxes, which Clinton produces, at its plants in Portland and Athens, Tennessee.
The plant manufactures blue plastic electrical boxes used in construction of residential properties, but demand for that product has dropped more than 40-percent since 2008, she said. Clinton Mayor Rodger Holm said the city was involved in talks with the company to determine what the city could do to help persuade them to stay and also enlisted the help of the state in encouraging the company to keep the Clinton plant open.
Bergeron says none of the workers will be offered the option of transferring. In accordance with company policy, all full-time employees would be eligible to receive separation pay and certain benefits. Separation pay is based on years of service. Affected employees also will be eligible to receive unemployment compensation.
By Dave Vickers, KROS, Clinton