TI Automotive Ltd. will close its Meriden, Conn., plant by Aug. 4, affecting 414 jobs.
The firm told the State of Connecticut Labor Department that layoffs would begin Dec. 2. Among the workers are members of Local 376 of the United Auto Workers.
TI Automotive of Warren, Mich., is closing the plant around the time a 10-year job creation commitment ends, according to Meriden City Manager Lawrence Kendzior.
``They waited until the earliest opportunity to close,'' Kendzior said in a telephone interview.
The Meriden plant began operation as a Walbro Corp. fuel-tank facility. Walbro was acquired by TI Automotive in 1999. When it was a Walbro operation, the Meriden plant received millions of dollars in grants and loans, much of it to reclaim a former silverware plant and turn it into a plastics facility.
Current ownership is different from the Walbro days, but TI Automotive should still honor the spirit of job creation and preservation in return for the original funds that attracted the business to Meriden, Kendzior said.
TI Automotive officials did not comment on the closure, nor on the fate of Meriden's production. Kendzior complained that government officials also are in the dark regarding TI Automotive's rationale for closing the plant.
The UAW local representing the plant had filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming TI Automotive sent a parts line to Michigan without notifying the union. But the UAW has agreed to drop the charges in exchange for increased severance pay and health benefits. UAW officials were unavailable to elaborate on their agreement with TI Automotive.
TI Automotive was spun off as a separate business from its former owner, TI Group plc of Abingdon, England, in the summer of 2001.