Longtime Lufkin Industries worker, union president: Foundries like dinosaurs

Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE

The rumble of machines could soon be silent at one of Angelina County's biggest employers.

Wednesday, General Electric announced they are looking at the possibility of closing the foundry division by 2016.

The plant has been part of the Lufkin Landscape since the early 1900s.

"I had a sick feeling it was coming after GE purchased the place," said John White, the Deep East Texas Council of Labor president. "I felt betrayed, just like the guys working there. I know they feel betrayed too."

White said he was optimistic when GE announced a $60 million improvement to the foundry facility last November.

White said the recent layoffs by the company were just the beginning and that the gas price plunge is now showing how bad it can get.

"It knocks on you, because when the oil went down, that went down," White said. "They didn't have anything to fall back on like we did in the past."

White said in his 37 years of working at the foundry he learned a lot of things, but nothing more important than giving back to the community, and said if this foundry is shut down it will be greatly missed in Angelina County.

"One of the things that I really enjoyed was the United Way campaign," White said. "Believe it or not, The Foundry doing the United Way was a 100 percent real deal. We never had any trouble from the guys at the Foundry to say, 'Ok here is my donation.'"

White said he is afraid the days of a foundry in Lufkin may be numbered.

"Foundries more or less are dinosaurs," White said. "Dinosaurs became extinct, you can't bring them back."

White is hoping East Texas legislators step in and help keep the foundry open.

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