LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - When General Electric bought Lufkin Industries back in 2013, the East Texas community was excited about the future of the merger.
"We talked with Jay Glick, the president of Lufkin Industries, and he seems to think it's a good opportunity for Lufkin Industries," Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter said in 2013.
"With the management that is there and the management that is with GE, I just feel certain that everything will work just like it always has," said Lufkin Mayor Bob Brown in 2013.
Things seemed to be going so well that Lufkin City Council agreed to a 100 percent tax abatement late last year with GE, so that they could make 60 million dollars worth of improvements to their Foundry facility in downtown Lufkin.
With the recent drops in oil and gas prices, GE has taken a hit and announced two weeks ago that they would be laying off 330 employees at their Buck Creek facility.
"One person laid-off is too many, but that's their industry and they have to do what they have to to stay afloat," said Suiter.
The news broke this morning that in addition to the Buck Creek layoffs, the Foundry would also be making cuts, leading to a total of around 500 people being unemployed.
City Manager Keith Wright right believes that this is a result of the oil industry and the layoffs would have been made regardless of the GE merger.
"Obviously we're concerned about those lay-offs, we're concerned about the impact on our economy, we hate for this to happen," said Wright. "But we do feel like it will come back, as the oil prices go up, we think that they'll hire back."
According to Wright, Lufkin Industries has made similar layoffs before the merger when oil prices dropped, leading him to believe the cuts have anything specifically to do with GE. He is confident that when the prices go back up, GE will be able to start rehiring workers.
Wright said that the $60 million dollar improvements and tax abatement will be put on hold until further notice.