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Huffy Plant To Lay Off Workers

June 5, 1998

CELINA, Ohio (AP) _ Most workers at a bicycle plant being closed by Huffy Corp. will be laid off at the end of next month, a county official said Friday.

Huffy filed a notice with Mercer County saying the jobs of 750 of the plant’s 1,000 workers will end July 31, Commissioner Tom Gagel said. The remaining jobs will be phased out over the following several months.

Previously, Huffy had said only that the jobs would be eliminated by year’s end.

Huffy announced last week that it must shutter the 40-year-old plant in Celina in western Ohio to slash costs to better compete with overseas bike makers. The Dayton-based company will import 60 percent of its mass market bikes from Asia and Mexico and produce the rest at its non-union plant in Farmington, Mo.

Gagel said he was ``a little bit surprised″ at how fast the company was moving.

Thomas Frederick, Huffy’s vice president of finance, said workers who paint and assemble the bikes will be the first to be laid off, while those who make bicycle parts will be the last.

Huffy and United Steelworkers of America leaders Thursday reached tentative agreement on a severance package. Workers will vote on it Saturday.

Frederick refused to release details of the proposal.

Calls to United Steelworkers Local 5369 were not returned.

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