Ficosa announcement likely signals transfer of all Berne jobs

Authored by Jim Langham on Feb 13, 2013

Ficosa spokesperson Lisa Norris, Director of Human Resources, U.S., said in a special interview with the Berne Tri-Weekly News on Tuesday that an announcement made to company employees last Friday signals the likely transition of all jobs in the Berne facility.
“The announcement Friday signals the likely transition of all jobs, unless a buyer for the facility is found and unless that buyer chooses to employ some of the existing workforce, as Ficosa hopes,” said Norris.
“Ficosa has not issued a formal ‘WARN’ notification of lay-offs, but the company said that it wanted the Berne, Indiana employees to have as much information and notice as possible to relative changes,” Norris said.
Ficosa had mailed out letters at the end of last week to all 140 employees informing them of the company plans.
Norris said that Ficosa is speaking with another company that may be interested in acquiring the paint processes in the plant, which could have the effect of retaining some of the current employment there.
“This week, managers from throughout the company began work on a transition plan that will take place between now and the end of May 2013,” Norris said.
Company officials said last Friday that meetings have begun to consider the transfer of molding and assembly operations from Berne to other operations in North America.
Other plants are located in Crossville, Tennessee and Shelbyville, Kentucky.
Ficosa is an industrial group based in Spain. Specialties include rear-view systems, command and control systems, advanced communications and advanced driver assistance systems.
Headquarters for Ficosa North American Corporation is located in Madison Heights, Michigan.
When asked whether or not local employees would be given the opportunity to move to another facility, Norris replied, “We cannot say at this time, as this is one of the things that will be addressed with the bargaining unit as part of decision and effects bargaining.
“It is Ficosa’s desire to retain as much talent as possible and to consider individuals for jobs in other parts of the country,” said Norris.
Norris said that the decision to transition from the Berne plant to other United States facilities had come about because Ficosa must address excess physical capacity and improve financial performance in order to remain viable as a U.S.-based automotive supplier.
According to Norris, Ficosa shared with customers this week that this initiative is a necessary response to address profitability in the United States by optimizing existing capacity.
The Berne facility is primarily a producer of past model service mirrors for a broad range of automotive OEMs, Norris said.
“Transition meetings are underway this week where timelines will be prepared for all transitions,” said Norris.

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