Shocking news affects hundreds of Grayson County families
(Leitchfield, KY)-Grayson County residents were found gripping for the economic downturn that struck Monday afternoon in Leitchfield. At 4:00pm 313 employees of Trim Masters (Toyota Boshoku America) were given the news that their jobs will be moving to Mexico.
Mayor William Thomason made a public announcement at the Leitchfield City Council meeting Monday night. He said later in the meeting that he was present at the 4:00pm announcement and it was one of the hardest meetings he had ever sat through. Mayor said in 2002 Leitchfield had 3400 jobs available but has lost over 2100 of those in the past few years.
Leitchfield/Grayson County Industrial Recruiter Dudley Cooper said the operations headquarters are based in Erlanger, KY and they are a leading automotive interior manufacturer. He said the company’s advisor, Dennis Kunio, spoke highly of Leitchfield by saying they could not have been treated any better. Cooper said when he started hearing rumors of the closing he made a call to Larry Hayes, who works with the Steve Beshear administration in Frankfort, KY. Cooper said Hayes called the Chairman and CEO of TBA, Nate Furuta, and offered to take the necessary steps to keep the factory open in Leitchfield.
Cooper said Trim Masters is the only company that is left in the United States who is still assembling upholstery and shipping it to the auto makers. He said the quality of the work produced in Leitchfield was impeccable and said there is a silver lining to this very dark cloud.
He said the factory will stop operations July 1, 2009 but the company will continue to pay all 313 employees will receive their salary and health benefits through the end of the year.
In a letter from Chairman and CEO Nate Furuta, the company has made every effort to retain jobs at every level of their North America operations. The letter stated that prior to the closure announcement TBA had reduced executive and management compensation up to 30%, frozen all salary increases, eliminated all bonuses and overtime, reduced capital spending and offered a voluntary separation package to all salaried team members at all US facilities.
The company’s three trim cover operations were all operating at less than 50% capacity, according to the letter, and to eliminate the excess capacity and adjust to weakened demand from their customers, TBA chose to consolidate trim covers produced at the Leitchfield factory with TBA’s facility in Chavez, Mexico.
Mayor Thomason said the closing of the factory will costs the city around $100,000 per year in revenue. He said when Leitchfield Plastics closed their operations it was a loss of $78,000 for the city.
Kentucky’s unemployment services and councilors that work with companies that are going through major transitions will be at the factory Tuesday to help the employees by offering educational opportunities through the area development district.