At least four semi-tractors moved production equipment from the Van Wert Kongsberg Automotive facility on Thursday afternoon while locked-out USW union members watched. This is consistent with the company’s stated plans to move the shifter line to Mexico.
At least four semi-tractors moved production equipment from the Van Wert Kongsberg Automotive facility on Thursday afternoon while locked-out USW union members watched. This is consistent with the company’s stated plans to move the shifter line to Mexico.
The day many people in Van Wert had been dreading arrived on Thursday when Kongsberg Automotive began taking semi-truck loads of equipment from Van Wert to another location, presumably Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

"Unfortunately, Kongsberg is carrying out what they said they were going to do by moving out the shifter line and going to Mexico," said Nancy Bowen, Van Wert County Economic Development Executive Director. "Our hope is that they will retain the tower line in Van Wert. Obviously they are going forward with their stated plans."

Aaron Collins, United Steel Workers Local President was a little more resigned now that the loss of the shifter line was official.

"It was not unexpected and we had heard rumors that some of the (replacements) had been told not to come to work because their jobs were leaving this week," Collins said.

Collins went on to say the union leadership had been meeting with local and state unemployment personnel as well as local officials to move forward on releasing any eligible benefits for the locked-out workers. This would include re-training funds to help the workers find jobs in other industries. This is contingent upon union and company representatives meeting for Effects Bargaining sessions. Collins said they would like to get this done as quickly as possible because, with the state of the Ohio economy, they were not sure how long some of the state funds would still be available. Telephone calls to the local Kongsberg facility were not immediately returned.