By Curtis Carden
On Thursday, March 3, the Regal Beloit Corporation confirmed to The Erwin Record that the Morrill Motors plant, located at Shallowford in Erwin, would begin a restructuring process, which will continue for the remainder of this year. This will affect more than 100 employees as the motor division moves to other Regal locations.
In a news release issued last week, the company stated: “Regal Beloit Corporation has informed the employees at its Erwin, Tenn., location of the company’s decision to restructure some operations at the facility. Motor production at this facility will be transferred to other Regal facilities by the end of 2016. This will affect approximately 108 employees. Consolidating this operation into existing Regal facilities will enable the company to remain globally competitive. The decision to restructure this facility is not a reflection on the efforts or performance of our employees.”
Sources close to the situation indicated that the jobs being moved from the area will be transported to outside of the country, an item that Regal Beloit neither confirmed or denied.
Multiple calls and email attempts to Regal Beloit’s Vice President of Communications and Marketing Paul Goldman, to receive clarification on future plans, were unsuccessful prior to The Erwin Record’s Tuesday press deadline.
The news from Morrill Motors’ Shallowford plant comes on the heels of the announcement that the American Job Center of Unicoi County will move from its current location, at the East Tennessee State University extension office on North Main, and move to 201 S. Main Avenue in downtown Erwin at the old Mountain Commerce Bank location in March.
Alliance for Business & Training (AB&T) officials set up shop in Erwin during the month of November after CSX Corporation announced the closure of the Erwin Terminal and reduced train traffic through the county, which affected more than 300 employees with the company.
Regal Beloit officials said they plan to work with employees at the Shallowford plant affected by the decision through other employment opportunities and packages.
“It is the company’s intention to provide a comprehensive benefit package for eligible employees affected by the production transfer,” Regal Beloit said in the release. “Regal’s goal will be to help affected employees make a successful transition from their job to other employment opportunities.”
Morrill Motors began as a small business out of the basement of Wayne J. Morrill’s home in 1946 and the future saw the company experience commercial success in the worldwide market, according to information from the company’s website.
Regal Beloit picked up the company in 2007 and merged Morrill Motors with GE Commercial Refrigeration, which was acquired in 2005, to form Morrill Motors, Inc.
The Shallowford plant is one of two Morrill plants located in Erwin. The Riverview plant is located on South Industrial Drive.
Members of the community are also reaching out to lend a helping hand for displaced workers with a community prayer service on Sunday, March 13, at 3 p.m. at Southside Freewill Baptist Church.