We welcome you to JobBank USA and hope your job hunting experience
is a pleasant one. We hope you find our resources useful.
March 13, 2009
Some Lufkin Industries machinist's union members who lost their jobs in the last round of layoffs are questioning the company's practices, while other employees say the company is wisely responding to the economy.
In early March the company had a layoff of 173 workers, following a round of 53 laid off in January, all in the oilfield division.
Most of the workers who lost their jobs in the second round were junior employees lacking company seniority, vice president Paul Perez said in a March 7 story in The Lufkin Daily News.
Perez could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Kenneth Faires of Huntington was laid off in early March after working less than a year in the oilfield division. Seniority doesn't transfer, he said, so when the company shut down the trailer plant in 2008 he lost 31 years' seniority. He said he felt the company should have pointed that out in announcing the March layoffs.
There are some who were laid off who had as many as 40 years with the company, Faires said. His callback time is three years — in which the company could possibly ask him to return to work, he said. Callback times for newer employees are around six months, he said.
"I'm still out of a job now," he said.
In the meantime, at nearly 58 years old he's said he's not sure what to do next. Drawing his retirement any time in the next few years isn't feasible, he said.
"If I have to wait 'til I'm 60 I'll still suffer penalization. Right now it would be 8 percent," he said.
John B. Doss of Lufkin is a current employee at Lufkin Industries with 37 years on the job.
He is a former president and chief steward of the local union group for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Three unions are represented among the employees at Lufkin Industries, including machinists, boilermakers and molders.
He's survived a number of layoffs, strikes and restructuring of the divisions, and said it isn't always possible to go by seniority when it comes to laying off workers.
In 1990s the company had to get a contract dispensation so the only woman capable of grinding cutters could keep her job, despite not having as much seniority as others. It was either that or shut the doors on the gear machines, he said.
Unions were founded on the right to seniority, but for efficient plant operations you can't always go by that, he said.
"Nobody likes to see anybody lose a job," Doss said. "It's really sad, but with the times the way they are, the company is kind of fighting for survival."
CEO Jay Glick earlier said that survival was the company's business plan for 2009.
Doss said with the economy in the shape it was likely that more layoffs might happen.
"People are in the business of trying to feed their children. It's really awful. There's no jobs or any place to go to," Doss said.
An employee who asked to withhold their name said their family had been destroyed by the layoff.
"I feel we were wrongfully laid off. There are people still in there with less seniority than we are," the employee said. "I feel like we should have had a chance to be moved somewhere else."
There were employees with three and four months on the job, who were still on probation, who remained at work. The employee alleged they were put into positions without having to sign bids for the job. There were also temporary workers from local placement agencies still working, according to the employee.
"They're up there sweeping the floors and picking up shavings, and we're out of a job," the worker said. "We should have been moved to some of those jobs and they should have been out of there.
"If they're not going to play by the rules, they need to go by the contract. I feel the union should support us."
The laid off employee said they had a conversion with another employee who allegedly described being moved temporarily to another job and then brought back to the oilfield division.
"They hid people on other jobs to save their jobs. They took them and put them in other areas, and then the day of the layoff by March 6 they told them they could go back to the oilfield division and work," the employee claimed.
Attempts to reach Perez for comment Wednesday on allegations of improper procedure were not successful.
The laid-off employee said there was a meeting of the local machinist's union Tuesday night in Lufkin. A representative from the regional headquarters in Louisiana could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Lufkin Industries is publicly traded and manufactures oilfield equipment, foundry castings and power transmission products. The company shuttered its trailer division due to the economy and competition from another trailer firm selling cheaper Chinese parts through a labor contract with the state prison system.
WorkForce Solutions of Deep East Texas offers free employment and benefits application assistance at its offices in Lufkin serving Angelina County at 210 N. John Redditt Drive. Call (936) 639-1351 for information. Offices are open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and closed for noon to 1 p.m. for lunch.