Communities Pick Up Pieces After Huge Cuts

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UTEC's headquarters and engineering center is in Huntington. UTEC's headquarters and engineering center is in Huntington.
INDIANAPOLIS and HUNTINGTON -

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is creating a task force to help workers affected by Carrier Corp.'s "incredibly disappointing" decision to move manufacturing operations from Indianapolis to Mexico. The move is expected to affect 1,400 jobs. That announcement came the same day that United Technologies Electronic Controls Inc., also a subsidiary of Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), announced plans to move its Huntington operations to Mexico, impacting 700 workers. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) has also weighed in, saying his office "stands ready to assist workers and families impacted by these decisions."

Our partners at WTHR-TV in Indianapolis heard reaction from some workers affected by the news.

Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters tells our partners at 21Alive in Fort Wayne the announcement reflects "the highs and the lows of the global economy."

UTEC produces microprocessing technology for heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration units. It also supplies "smart" and programmable thermostat components. The relocation is expected to take place over two years beginning in 2017.

UTEC says it will maintain a presence in northeast Indiana, keeping its headquarters, engineering and product marketing organizations in the community. Carrier's relocation in Indianapolis is structured in a similar fashion, with the headquarters remaining on the city's west side, while manufacturing heads out-of-country.

UTEC Managing Director Alex Houston issued a statement that reads:

This plan is intended to address the challenges we continue to face in a rapidly changing industry, with a continued and steady migration of our OEM customers and competitors to Northern Mexico. The proximity of our operations to our customers is key to remaining competitive. It enables better responsiveness and flexibility to meet their changing needs. We are aware of the effect on our employees and the community, making this a difficult decision. But after a thorough evaluation of our manufacturing operations, we determined the relocation is the best way for us to remain competitive, meet the needs of our customers and protect the business for the long-term.

Final agreements with local union representatives in Huntington still need to be made. The company says the move to Mexico will put it closer to existing customers. UTEC says it will "work with employees, their representatives, and the local community to ensure as smooth a transition as possible" and will extend some benefits, including Employee Scholar Program access, eligible workers.

Two years ago, Common Council in Huntington approved tax abatement for $1.5 million in upgraded equipment. The company says the investment also helped retain nearly 740 workers employed by the company at the time.

Statement from Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett:

"Today's surprise announcement was without warning and incredibly disappointing. While I am obviously concerned about the economic impact, my top priority is the well-being of the hardworking families affected by this decision.

A job lost in any part of our community affects us all, and I believe these are the times we must come together as one city to lift up our neighbors. That is why this afternoon I will issue an Executive Order to create a task force that will convene local, state, and federal resources and direct every tool at our disposal toward supporting these workers in the days ahead."


Statement from U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly:

"The announcements about Carrier and UTEC are very disappointing. We have an outstanding workforce in Indianapolis, Huntington, and across our state, and I remain committed to making sure every Hoosier who wants a job has a job. Our office stands ready to assist workers and families impacted by these decisions and to work with local, state, and federal partners."

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