According to information provided by Paul Eriksen, president of the Electrolux employees' union, UAW Local 442, some workers spend more than one hour a day commuting one way to the Webster City factory.Eriksen
said union members who work at Electrolux
cite residences in 21 counties that stretch from Black Hawk County in the east to Buena Vista and Carroll counties in the west.Employees also come north from Polk and Jasper counties and south from Kossuth County.
Bracing for the futureEriksen
said news of the coming layoffs wasn't completely unexpected.
‘‘I always knew it was a possibility, but it was still a surprise when it happened," said Eriksen
, who learned of the layoffs during an early morning meeting between union leadership and company officials Feb. 14. ‘‘We've always been faced with the possibility that Electrolux might pull out of town.We were told the decision was final and irreversible."Eriksen
said right now he
and other UAW Local 442
officials are working on getting information out to Electrolux employees.
‘‘I'm doing a lot of research right now to find out how we can help people who are laid off," said Eriksen
, who has already met with some employees who are concerned about their options.
Some of those options could include federal money that would help laid-off workers go back to school for retraining.Eriksen
currently looking into applying for Trade Adjustment Assistance, which is available under the U.S. Trade Act.
also been in contact with the Hamilton County Iowa State University
Extension office, which is offering to provide classes that could help laid-off workers cope with the stress of unemployment.