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South Bend factory to eliminate over 300 jobs

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 5:28 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Hundreds of jobs in South Bend are now on the chopping block at a local manufacturing company, with over 300 jobs set to gone by the end of 2020.

Federal Mogul makes pistons for trucks. Employees there, some with decades spent at the company, will find themselves out of a job at the start of next year.

“Me and a bunch of my friends from work, 20 years there ya know, a lot of people we’re all just shaking our heads like I can’t believe what’s coming down the road," Rob Mastin says. He’s worked at Federal Mogul for 23 years.

What’s coming down the road is in the paperwork employees received on Wednesday; that paperwork says by January 4th, manufacturing jobs are out the door.

“They blame it on conditions in the market, they make pistons. The automotive markets have had some uncertainty in it, there have been major disruptions in the supply chain," Jeff Rea says. He is President and CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber tells me about 100 assembly jobs will remain at the Cleveland Road site.

“We were a victim of a decision made somewhere else to eliminate a facility here," Rea says.

Federal Mogul is owned by Tenneco and a spokesperson provided this statement on Thursday.

“Yesterday, Tenneco announced that we have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to move manufacturing from South Bend to other Tenneco plants and keep the assembly work in the facility. The decision was made in order to remain competitive and profitable in the challenging global business environment. This decision is not a reflection of the committed team members in South Bend, but was necessary to remain cost-competitive. We are working diligently to create a competitive package for affected workers that will include severance, job training and assistance in transitioning to new jobs or new career opportunities.” -Steve Blow, Tenneco Corporate Communications

Tenneco has sites around the world where these jobs could end up, the exact plans for the jobs leaving South Bend are not known at this time. Terminations in South Bend are set to start on December 21st and wrap-up by January 4th, 2021.

“We didn’t see this coming at all, maybe a slowdown, maybe another shut down with COVID going the way it is, but I almost went to my knees I couldn’t believe what was happening,” Mastin adds.

The South Bend Chamber says that there is some local demand for the skills these workers have.

Over 300 workers now hoping for the best.

“Once you think about it, you just have to give it to the man upstairs and just believe that He’s got something better in store," Mastin adds.

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