DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is making efforts to prevent the closure of two Miami Valley manufacturing plants that would cause approximately 350 workers to lose their jobs.
Thetford LLC, the parent company of Norcold LLC, a brand of RV refrigerators, announced in October that they plan to transfer all U.S. refrigerator manufacturing to other global facilities, resulting in the closure of two Ohio-based Norcold locations.
The Sidney location is set to close at the end of January 2023. Gettysburg will close at the end of December 2022.
Brown sent a letter to the Thetford Corporation, the parent company of Norcold LLC, urging the company to reconsider closing operations in Sidney and Gettysburg.
“The decision to close Norcold in Gettysburg and Sidney is short-sighted and fails to recognize the productivity of their workforce,” Brown wrote. “It has also caught these communities by surprise after many years of service. Ohio’s workers can compete with anyone in the world, and I urge Norcold to reconsider their decision and find a way to continue investing in the communities that have been Norcold’s home for more than half a century.”
Brown’s office attempted to meet with Norcold representatives to discuss the decision, but the company declined, according to a release.
A full copy of the letter, addressed to Stephane Cordeille, Chief Executive Officer, of the Thetford Corporation, is available below:
Dear Mr. Cordeille:
After listening to the concerns of local elected officials in Gettysburg and Sidney and then attempting to engage with your company for weeks, it is beyond disappointing that your company refuses to meet with my office to discuss your decision to unilaterally shutter Norcold’s operations in these two cities. As you know, your company’s decision to close operations after more than 50 years of manufacturing in Ohio will lay off more than 350 Ohioans and shift production to factories overseas. It is short-sighted and fails to recognize the productivity of your workforce. It has also caught these communities by surprise after many years of service. Ohio’s workers can compete with anyone in the world, and I urge you to reconsider your decision and find a way to continue investing in the communities that have been Norcold’s home for more than half a century.
Since your company refuses to meet to discuss the impact of these closures to communities in Ohio, I respectfully request written responses to the following questions no later than December 7, 2022:
- What specific economic challenges is Norcold facing that made it necessary to close these two facilities at this time and which of your overseas facilities will replace their production?
- You stated in your press release that laid off employees will be your top priority in the coming months. What steps are you taking to ensure these workers have the resources they need to support themselves and their families? Specifically, what severance packages have you offered to your employees and how do you plan to support their efforts to find new employment?
- How many workers have you helped secure alternative employment to date? When do you expect to achieve a 100 percent placement rate for the workers who are losing their employment?
- Are you working with the communities to repurpose your facilities to mitigate loss on the communities in Gettysburg and Sidney? If not, why not?
Too often, we have seen companies close facilities in Ohio, but it is extremely rare for a company to refuse to engage with my office to discuss ways to try to reduce the harm a plant closure inevitably has on workers and their communities. I look forward to a prompt response that details how you plan to serve both your dedicated employees and the communities they call home.
Brown requested Norcold to respond to his letter by December 7.