Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Peterbilt Permanently Closing Middle Tennessee Plant

According to this Nashville Business Journal article, Peterbilt permanently closing Tennessee plant, effective 12/1/2009 Peterbilt Motors Co., the well known truck manufacturer, will shutter the Madison Tennessee (located in Davidson County TN northwest of Nashville TN) plant. According to the article, "The Madison plant had not built trucks since July 2008, when the company and the United Auto Workers Local 1832 were unable to agree on a new contract. But company officials said the decision to shutter — and eventually close — the plant was a result of falling demand for the heavy-duty trucks, not because of labor issues."

The article quotes Bill Jackson, Peterbilt General Manager, as saying "This was a difficult, but necessary decision. The current and projected market conditions are very challenging and Peterbilt is aligning its production capacity with market demand. Peterbilt is proud to have been a member of the greater Nashville community for 40 years and we thank our employees for their excellent contribution."

According to the article, all of the company's truck manufacturing will move to Peterbilt's other plant in Denton, Texas. The article states "The 2,000-worker facility, which does not have union representation, announced layoffs there in January, though the company didn’t specify how many jobs were impacted, saying only that it was a small number. At the Nashville plant, 313 workers were laid off in June 2008 when the contract expired, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor."

While Peterbilt officials said that the Madison TN plant closing was a result of market conditions, not union/labor issues, I have to believe that the union was a major factor in the plant closing. The fact is that unions cause companies to earn less and to layoff workers in order to remain competitive. In this case the union caused the loss of at lease a large percentage of the 313 lost jobs. Given that 25% of homeowners have no savings to cover their living expenses if they were to lose their jobs (see my previous blog post Too Many Homeowers Have No Savings) I think it is reasonable to conclude that more job losses will cause more short sales and foreclosures in Middle Tennessee as a large percentage of unemployed people in Middle TN cannot pay their mortgages even for a short period of time due to a lack of savings.

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