Local union president for workers at Lexington’s Trane plant, Marty Leslie said Thursday’s announcement of a 2019 shutdown was, “a shocker.”
Officials with Ingersoll Rand, the parent company of Trane, told workers the commercial air handler operation would be consolidated with activities in Columbia, South Carolina. Leslie said it was a corporate move, not a local decision. He felt the matter was handled professionally. “It’s not a reflection of the management of the relationship the management has with the union or that the workers weren’t producing. It was corporate merging like processes,” said Leslie.
Leslie says business has been brisk at the Lexington Trane plant. That added to the surprise of the announcement. When taking into account office personnel, engineers, supervisors, and sales people, Leslie expects well over 700 workers to be affected.
The union leader anticipates plant worker numbers to start falling next summer. “It’s not like everybody is going to leave in December of 2019. As things get closer and they wind down the business, the numbers will decrease. I’m looking probably May or June, start decreasing,” noted Leslie.
Leslie says there are couples who work at Trane, who are experiencing what he calls a “double whammy.”
Leslie, who’s worked at Trane for 25 years, said on-site information about unemployment benefits and training for other jobs is expected to be made available to workers.