08/19/13 — Cooper Bussmann closing its doors

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Cooper Bussmann closing its doors

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 19, 2013 1:46 PM

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The closing of the Cooper Bussmann plant on Dixie Trail by its parent company, Eaton Corp., will affect 132 employees. A company spokesman said this morning that 60 of the employees will be transferred to the Bussmann plant in LaGrange.

Company officials have told employees at the Cooper Bussmann plant at 210 Dixie Trail that the facility will close by next summer.

The plant, which has operated in Goldsboro since 1983, employs about 132 employees, 60 of whom are expected to be transferred to the Bussmann facility in LaGrange.

Eaton Corp., a global power management company, announced in May 2012 that it would acquire electrical supplier Cooper Industries. The deal was completed in November. Eaton Corp. officials made the decision to close the Goldsboro facility.

County officials learned of the closure last Wednesday, said Mike Haney, Wayne County Development Alliance existing industry specialist.

"They have been good (for the community)," Haney said.

Eaton's senior manager for global communications Mark Horner said he did not have much specific information about the closing or what the plans are for the building. However, he said the transition would begin in December and should be completed by late July 2014.

The positions being lost are being shifted to other Eaton locations in the U.S. and other countries, but Horner said he did not have any more specific information on those changes.

The closure, he said, is in response to business and market conditions to help the company compete globally. It is not a reflection on the "hard-working and dedicated" employees at the Goldsboro plant, Horner said.

"It is a challenging business climate," he said.

Haney said that following Eaton's acquisition of Bussmann, the company had looked for duplication and excess capacity, and as a result, made the decision to close the Goldsboro plant, which manufacturers fuse boxes and automobile fuses.

Haney said with 60 of the employees being transferred to the LaGrange facility, which currently employs 100, there will be 72 workers left in need of new jobs.

The county has an "emergency response team" consisting of the Development Alliance, Wayne Community College and the Employment Security Commission to help in such situations, he said.

Haney said Bussmann employees have the higher-level skill sets that other companies want. It might be tougher to find jobs for management, he said.

Company representatives have been on site and will continue to assist the employees with job placement, Horner said. Also, employees will be eligible for severance benefits, he said.

Haney said he did not know what the company's plans are for the 70,000-square-foot plant. However, he said the Development Alliance would be ready to assist in marketing the building.

Founded in 1833, Cooper is a leading supplier of electrical equipment including electrical protection, power transmission and distribution, lighting and wiring components.

Eaton, founded in 1911, has its U.S. headquarters is in Cleveland, Ohio, and its global headquarters is in Dublin, Ireland.