Officials: Tenneco plant in Cozad to remain open until 2012

Tenneco Automotive will be reduced to a skeleton force when mainline workers leave June 3.

Still, plant officials say they plan to remain open for another year.

Acting Tenneco manager Del Hladky said 196 people are still on the main line manufacturing shock absorbers which they will continue doing through June 3.

Once those employees leave, the plant will ship shock absorbers to Ford Motor Company and continue manufacturing piston rods that will be sent to other Tenneco plants.

Hladky said they plan to ship shock absorbers until the end of September and will continue making and shipping piston rods until May or June of 2012.

However by July, the plant will probably have only about 50 employees who will take care of the piston rod business and maintenance of the facility.

“Our target date to close completely is next May or June,” he said.

Even though the plant hired back some workers who had left for Tenneco plants in Hartwell, GA, and Paragould, AK, Hladky said they won’t be hiring anyone else.

The workforce may shrink to less than 50 people if they are able to outsource their product, he said.

As employees leave, Hladky said they will receive the same termination package as if their jobs were terminated sooner.

Plant officials have helped employees find other jobs, he said, noting that Nebraska Workforce Development visits the plant weekly to assist employees in finding new jobs and offering federal money for skill training or education for different employment.

Last week, Hladky said Tenneco human resources director Jay Edwards was at the Walker Tenneco plant in Seward to help former Tenneco employees from Cozad relocate there.

The Walker plant manufactures emission controls.

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