May 30, 2013
BorgWarner to close July 1
About 30 workers remain at Luker Road plant in Cortlandville
CORTLANDVILLE — Production at the BorgWarner Morse TEC plant on Luker Road will end July 1, according to an email from a company official.
Less than 30 remaining workers will lose their jobs, Steve Snyder, vice president of operations in the Americas, wrote in response to an inquiry by the Cortland Standard.
BorgWarner announced in March 2012 all 158 jobs at the facility would be eliminated.
But workers have taken positions at factories in Lansing through a job bidding process or left for other jobs since then, Snyder wrote.
Some of the remaining workers will also transfer to jobs in the Lansing plants, he wrote. The two Lansing locations are not facing layoffs, Snyder wrote.
BorgWarner, based in Auburn Hills, Mich., decided to close the factory — which makes powdered metal sprockets for engine timing systems and transfer cases for light vehicles — after a failed attempt to sell it in February 2011 to the Italian-based company Dytech Powdered Metals Inc.
“After an extensive evaluation of the products and attempts to sell the business, a strategic decision was made to exit this product line,” Snyder wrote.
Cortlandville Town Supervisor Dick Tupper was disappointed that the plant is closing but grateful that many of the workers have found jobs within the company in Lansing.
“At least they’re not going to be unemployed,” Tupper said.
BorgWarner plans to sell the facility and land after the plant closes, Snyder wrote.
The BorgWarner building is “pretty nice,” Tupper said, adding the Cortland County Business Development Corp. and the Cortland County Industrial Development Agency will be marketing the facility alongside BorgWarner.
The facility will also be posted on a state list of vacant industrial sites, he said.
“We’re hoping that we can find a tenant,” Tupper said. “So, we’ll do as much as we have to. We don’t want to have an empty commercial building.”
Of the 158 workers employed at the plant when the closing was announced, 137 were members of Teamsters Local 317 and 21 were nonunion employees.
A union representative could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
While it is disappointing that BorgWarner is closing in Cortland, it was not one of the major employers in the area that have between 500 and 800 workers, said Karen Niday, chief financial officer of the county IDA-BDC.
BorgWarner never forecast employing more than a couple of hundred workers, Niday said.
A payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the IDA concluded in 2011, she said.
The 65-percent tax exemption saved the company a total of about $300,000 in property taxes. It also provided sales tax exemptions for $135,000 worth of materials purchased for renovations.
BorgWarner had paid full property taxes for about a year when the layoffs were announced.
BorgWarner repurposed a vacant 130,000-square-foot former NCC women’s undergarment factory in December 2000, purchasing the facility from local businessman Karl Ochs for $2.2 million.
The total investment in the Cortlandville operation was about $38 million, officials said at the time.
In 2009, the IDA forgave penalties against BorgWarner for failing to reach the 150-employee threshold required under the PILOT agreement. The factory had 116 workers.
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