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TRW Automotive to close Warrenton plant, idling more than 200 employees

WARRENTON, Ga. -- Economic woes are now being felt close to home.

Just last week, more than 200 employees of the TRW Automotive plant in Warrenton learned from company officials that they soon will be out of a job.

"This is certainly not something we wanted to have to do, but severe economic conditions within our industry forced it," said John Wilkinson, senior communications manager for TRW Automotive Holdings Corp.

The plant, which has been operational for the past 18 months, employs a total of 215 employees -- all of whom will be permanently laid off between now and the end of March, Mr. Wilkinson said in a telephone interview. The majority of those employed at the plant, located about 10 miles west of Thomson, live in Warren and McDuffie counties.

"It's a very difficult situation for our employees, customers and suppliers right now," Mr. Wilkinson told The McDuffie Mirror from his Livonia, Michigan office.

Warren County Commission Chairman John Graham expressed his thoughts about what the plant's closure means to the county from an economic standpoint.

"We are saddened by the news that TRW will be closing their facility in Warren County," Mr. Graham said. "TRW has been a very bug asset to Warrenton and Warren County. They have been a very good community oriented company and employed many people in Warren County and surrounding areas.

"The layoff of these employees will have a dramatic impact on our community. Warren County will continue to work on bringing additional employment opportunities to Warrenton and Warren County to help our citizens now and in the future."

The decision to close the facility "is in no way a reflection of the workforce in Warrenton or the plant's performance," according to Doug DelGrasso, vice-president of operations for the TRW North America Braking and Suspension business. "However, the continued deterioration of sales in the North American market makes difficult decisions like these necessary."

TRW officials plan to assist employees in transitioning to new jobs through outplacement support and job training programs, according to a press release.

At this time, it's the only planned plant closure within the company, Mr. Wilkinson said.

The majority of the employees will be out of a job at the plant by mid February, while a few others will stay on until the plant actually shuts down the following month, Mr. Wilkinson added.

The TRW Automotive plant in Warrenton produces brake parts for vehicles.

Web posted on Thursday, December 18, 2008

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