Regal Beloit to Close Valparaiso Plant

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Plant workers have been on strike since June 30. (photo courtesy of Joseph S. Pete/The Times of Northwest Indiana) Plant workers have been on strike since June 30. (photo courtesy of Joseph S. Pete/The Times of Northwest Indiana)

Wisconsin-based Regal Beloit Corp. (NYSE: RBC) is planning to close its plant in Valparaiso, where employees have been on strike since the end of June. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report at least 130 employees will be out of work as a result.

The manufacturer has informed the International Association of Machinists Local 2018 of the planned closure Tuesday. The facility makes bearings for helicopters and planes, including Air Force One, according to the publication. 

In a statement provided to Inside INdiana Business, Regal Beloit Vice President of Business Development and Investor Relations Robert Cherry said representatives met Tuesday with union officials and a federal mediator to continue collective bargaining negotiations. The company informed the union of its plans to "discontinue our operations at this facility, exit certain products and move the remaining work to our Monticello, Indiana, plant."

"This was not a decision that we made lightly, and a number of factors were considered including customer orders, inventory levels and overall plant efficiency," Cherry said. "We are committed to further discussions with the union within the collective bargaining process. We will continue to rely on our contingency plan in order to provide our customers with the highest quality products and service."

The Times reports workers voted 99-5 to go on strike due to wages a slow as $15 an hour and health insurance out-of-pocket maximums of up to $20,000 for a family. Regal Beloit reportedly turned down a proposal from the union for 75-cent an hour raises and an out-of-pocket maximum of $15,000.

The company did not say whether it would provide assistance to the impacted employees.

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