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Car parts supplier to close

Ohio plant lost key contract; 82 face job cuts in March

A Williams County, Ohio, auto parts supplier is closing its factory at the end of March, one year after notifying state officials that it lost a vital Ford Motor Co. contract.

Diversified Machine Inc.’s Edon operation will eliminate 82 jobs – including 61 machine operator positions – when it closes.

Diversified Machine began long-term layoffs last year on April 27, according to a letter that Cheryl Boyer, human relations manager, sent to Ohio officials. The WARN letter was dated Feb. 24.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires companies planning mass firings or layoffs to notify state and local officials at least 60 days before the effective date.

The latest notice, dated Jan. 15, was posted on the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services website.

Many of the workers are members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Union Local 715.

The plant has continued operating during the past year, a Chicago-based union official said. United Electrical representatives negotiated for a gradual shutdown of the operation and a severance package for members, said Carl Rosen, the union’s Western region president.

The Edon operation, at 507 W. Indiana St., “specializes in tight tolerance machining of aluminum, iron and steel components,” including steering knuckles and chassis components, the company’s website stated last year. Since then, details of its operations and locations have been removed.

The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, acquired Diversified Machine out of bankruptcy in November 2005 and spent the next six years working with the management team to develop and expand the business. Carlyle sold the company to Platinum Equity in December 2011.

Carlyle officials point to their ownership of Diversified Machine as an example of the turnaround specialists’ success. On the Carlyle website, the manufacturer is listed as a case study of how Carlyle ownership can improve a business.

Under the investment firm’s ownership, Diversified Machine expanded to 10 from three factories and to 2,350 from 465 employees. The company established a presence in Europe by acquiring operations in Spain and France. And it began offering lighter-weight components made with aluminum to help automakers improve gas mileage.

News of the closing comes as an economic recovery appears to be taking hold nationally. But some areas still struggle with higher-than-usual unemployment.

Williams County had a jobless rate of 6.4 percent in December. By comparison, Allen County’s rate that same month was 6 percent.

sslater@jg.net

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