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NORWALK, OH (Toledo News Now) -
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is urging Janesville Acoustics not to close its Norwalk manufacturing facility, which would cost 300 local workers their jobs.
Last month, the company made an announcement that it plans to close its Norwalk plant by the end of 2014 without the consultation of its workers, the city's elected officials, or Workers United Local 1422.
"We know how to make things in Ohio - especially cars - and the Norwalk workers are among the best at what they do," Brown said. "That is what makes it so disappointing that Janesville Acoustics decided to close its Norwalk facility without any effort to consult its workers or the local community. I urge Janesville Acoustics to look into every alternative that would help save the plant and the nearly 300 local jobs that depend on it. I offer whatever assistance I can to help this happen."
Janesville Acoustics serves the global automotive and transportation industry, including the Toledo Jeep plant, by providing thermal and acoustical products, services, and solutions. One in every eight jobs in Ohio is connected to the auto industry. One in every six cars produced in the United States is made in Ohio.
Residents and leaders in Norwalk say losing Janesville Acoustics is devastating for the city.
"I'm not mad, I'm heartbroken," said Joseph Blake, who has worked at Janesville for 18 years.
Brown's letter to the president of Janesville Acoustics can be read below:
Dear Mr. Cataldi:
Recently, I was contacted about your announcement to shutter the Janesville Acoustics facility in Norwalk, Ohio. Out of deep concern for the city of Norwalk and the facility's nearly 300 loyal workers, I ask that you reconsider this decision.
While appreciative of the advance notice you provided regarding next year's closure of the plant, it is my understanding that the decision was made without any consultation with the employees, the union, or local community officials. Consequently, local community officials and the union did not have an opportunity to present any ideas or alternatives that would prevent the Norwalk plant closure and save the area jobs.
As you know, Ohio has a strong and vibrant automotive sector, supporting approximately 850,000 Ohio jobs. I understand the importance of maintaining a robust environment for automakers and a strong supplier base. For many years, Janesville Acoustics has had a proud history and a strong network of support in Ohio. I am confident that you realize that your workers and the entire Norwalk community are willing to help you save the Norwalk plant. Their voices and ideas deserve to be heard.
I ask that you work directly with the union and local leaders on alternatives to avoid this devastating plant closure. Because of the serious impact this shutdown could have on the Norwalk community, I urge you to leave no stone unturned in these efforts. Please don't hesitate to call on me if I can be of assistance. I stand ready to help you save the jobs of hundreds of devoted Ohio workers.