A Defunct Big Three Could Affect Local Business
By: Carly O'Keefe
MURPHYSBORO,Ill. - A no vote from Congress on a proposed $34 billion bailout for Chrysler, General Motors and Ford would be felt beyond Detroit--likely here in the Heartland.
"Our largest employer here is Penn Aluminum. Who is very tightly woven into the automotive industry in the parts they supply to manufacturers for new vehicles," said Murphysboro Mayor Ron Williams.
That's why Mayor Williams has kept a close eye on the big three's recent battle to stay in business.
"Those are good jobs, good paying jobs with good benefits, so critical to not only Murphysboro but the area around us," said Williams.
In a written statement Wednesday, plant manager Steven Gates of Penn Aluminum International, Inc. tells Heartland News: "Over the past several months, Penn Aluminum International, Inc. has laid off a total of approximately 20 employees at its plant in Murphysboro, Illinois. The operation now employs about 230 people. The layoffs are primarily related to a decrease in orders from the automotive industry."
Over the phone, Gates said that Penn Aluminum is concerned about the Big Three like everyone else, but had diversified its product line beyond the automotive industry in recent years which should help the company weather the storm should the worst happen to Detroit.
"They've been through tough times with the auto industry before. They know how to handle their business. Am I concerned? Absolutely. But I don't think we're going to lose our largest employer," said Williams. "They are prepared for this, they don't see disaster."