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Sen. Brown seeks to help Janesville Acoustics

Melissa Topey • Sep 30, 2013 at 4:30 PM

On Friday, Brown sent a letter to Janesville Acoustics executives in Michigan, urging them to keep their Norwalk factory running.

Last month the company’s executives announced — to the surprise of employees, union officials and city administrators — plans to close the plant by the end of 2014, leaving 296 people without work.

The company plans to move its operations closer to its customer base. It’s looking to purchase a new plant in Kansas, Missouri or Nebraska before the end of this year.

“We know how to make things in Ohio, especially cars, and the Norwalk workers are among the best at what they do,” Brown stated in a release. “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.”

In the letter to David Cataldi, president of Janesville Acoustics, Brown asked the company to work with the union and local leaders to find an alternative to a devastating 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,” Brown wrote. “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.”

The closing appears to be a done deal, with the company already moving equipment out of the factory. But you still keep hope and try to save the plant, Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan said.

“It is always positive when elected officials take the initiative to get involved,” Duncan said.

The union was made aware of Brown’s letter Thursday, said Casey Martin, union president for local 1422 Workers United.

“We will see how far this goes,” Martin said. “Any help is good help.”

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