Autolite plant in Fostoria to begin closing in Jan.

Autolite plant in Fostoria to begin closing in Jan.

FOSTORIA, OH (WTOL) - When UAW Local 533 reps sat down with Autolite to begin their next contract talks, they were informed the plant would instead be closed.

Currently 56 employees work at Autolite, a far cry from the nearly 1,400 employed in 1994.

Many jobs were lost when Autolite moved assembly to Mexico and later more work to South Carolina.

UAW Local 533 president Bob Teeple says the plant, along with all of Fostoria's industry, has consistently been hit hard ever since trade tariffs were removed when NAFTA was signed.

"It's pretty evident, Fostoria is a ghost town anymore as far as manufacturing. It's a very nice place to have a business because of all of the railroads that come through here and stuff. But currently, it is pretty empty." said Teeple.

Teeple says the union is now drafting compensation proposals for the 56 employees, and are working with the State to find displaced worker benefits.

They also have 27 current retirees to help as well.

"These people have worked here 26 years, most of them, and this might be the only place they've ever worked. So, to try to go someplace else at this point in their life, if you're above 45 or so, it become a little difficult." said Teeple.

According to documents filed with the state, the plant will be completely shut down by the middle of next year.

The spark plug manufacturing plant began operations in Fostoria in 1936.

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