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Bloomington Officials Informed GE Appliances Closing
Updated June 16, 2016 6:43 AM | Filed under: Business
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(BLOOMINGTON) - Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton was informed Wednesday that GE Appliances, a Haier company (GEA), intends to close its refrigeration plant on the west side of Bloomington.

An exact date of closing was not provided pending company-union negotiations. The plant employs 329 people, 301 of whom are represented by IBEW Local 2249.

"A significant plant closing like this sends a ripple effect through the community, but of course our immediate thoughts and concerns are with the GE Appliances employees and their families. We will encourage the company to provide the fullest support possible for each employee losing their position. We anticipate further conversations about connecting employees with resources going forward," stated Mayor Hamilton.

The City of Bloomington is working with the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation on developing options for both the employees and the plant going forward.

BEDC President and CEO Lynn Coyne said, "These are skilled, proven employees, so we are hopeful that those who don't choose to retire will have the opportunity to continue their careers in this community".

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and its community partner, WorkOne South Central Indiana, have activated the state's Rapid Response team to assist employees

The state's Rapid Response team is activated when a significant layoff or plant closure occurs. The team focuses on connecting displaced employees with local employment opportunities, in addition to providing resume assistance, interview workshops and skills assessments.

"Rapid-response efforts pair knowledgeable WorkOne staff with displaced employees and move them toward a plan for re-employment as soon as possible," said Steve Braun, DWD Commissioner. "WorkOne will immediately conduct Rapid Response sessions with affected GE employees and connect them with services available through the state and federal workforce system."

The time and location of the first Rapid Response session will be announced in the near future.

The General Electric Corporation expanded its Louisville appliance operation to include a plant in Bloomington in April 1967, making GE's line of Hotpoint side-by-side refrigerators. Over the past forty-nine years, the local GE plant has produced nearly 20 million side-by-side refrigerators and has at times employed as many as 3000 workers. The plant began downsizing significantly in the mid-2000s after shifting some production to Celaya, Mexico.

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