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Altoona Mirror: Saturday, March 31, 2001 - Page 1

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 31, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Spring ahead Don't forget to set your clock one hour ahead to observe daylight- saving time. COMING SUNDAY IN Mirror presents 2001 All-Star girls' and boys' basketball teams Altomra UKrr0r Copyright 2001 SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2001 50t newsstand "Our job has been made a little more difficult." Leaders shocked by latest layoffs BY WALT FRANK StaffWriter Local political and business leaders, already dealing the region's sometimes painful transformation from a manufactur- ing center to a economy, were handed another challenge Friday. Shock, disappointment and concern were among the words local officials used when they learned about the closing of C-COR.net's Tipton plant and the loss of 490 jobs. "Our job has been made a little more diffi- said Dean McKnight, chairman of the board of Altoona-Blair County Development Corp., the group charged with overseeing the area's economic growth. "We are disappointed not only for the employees; we really think we've made progress in decreasing the loss of employ- ment in Blair County and made terrific progress to find McKnight said. Economic officials have lamented the frus- trations of consistently creating few dozen at a time only to have that work overshadowed by high-profile layoffs. The C-COR layoffs bring the total number of jobs eliminated in Blair County in five major layoffs in the last nine months to more than By contrast, ABCD said it worked with almost two dozen businesses in 1999 to create or retain 638 jobs in the county. Stats for 2000 are not yet available. "We have to be concerned about the impact of people who say there is no McKnight said. "As bad as it is for the people impacted, we need to be optimistic we can find jobs to replace these jobs." "It [the C-COR announcement] is a major disappointment for an area already reeling from earlier bad said Joe Hurd, exec- utive director of the Blair County Chamber. "This certainly is something that does not have the type of impact we are looking for in a business development climate." The chairman and vice chairman of the Antis Township supervisors were shocked to learn of the loss of the township's top employer. Please see A6 Electronics plant shutting down, 490 jobs gone C-COR.NOT Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec An unknown C-COR employee leaves the Tipton plant Friday afternoon. The plant's closing is part of a restruc- turing plan to cut 700 jobs this year. Workers had warnings layoffs were coming BY WILLIAM KIBLEH StaffWriter In the lobby of C-COR.net in Tipton, there's a framed poster of a futuristic supercar riding on a cushion of air with the caption, "If only C-COR rebuilt cars." On another wall, there's a poster with a fabulous silver network of structures looking like a space station from an Isaac Asimov novel with the caption, "If only C-COR rebuilt cities." How good C-COR might have been in auto and urban design is a moot point for the Tipton area, as the company is mov- ing its 490 jobs elsewhere. Still, there were plenty of warnings. On Wednesday, management was telling workers at Tipton that they were not being laid off "for the said line tester Jason Singer, who was on his way into what he thought was an evening shift of work Friday. He didn't know that workers on the two previous shifts had come into work only to receive severance packets and instruc- tions not to come back. When asked Thursday afternoon about a C-COR merger with a California high- tech firm, a company spokeswoman responded, "We have not raised anything about layoffs or further action." The merger with ttie software and ser- vice firm "would have no direct impact" on whether the company would keep operating the Tipton plant, she said. Despite the company's official com- ments, everyone saw it coming, many workers said Friday. Please see A6 BY CRAIG WILLIAMS StaffWriter TIPTON After living on edge for weeks amidst wide- spread rumors of an impends ing layoff, 490 factory workers at C-COR.net got the confirmation they'd been dreading Friday: The company's production facility in Tipton is being closed. The workers, who make older technology coaxial cable amplifiers alongside newer fiber optics prod-' ucts, will be given 60 days of sever- ance pay to keep the company in compliance with a federal law that requires a two-month notice on the closing of large plants. The layoff was the fifth major blow to Blair County's economy in the past nine months. During that time, the county has lost nearly jobs. Rumblings of trouble in Tipton began several weeks ago, but few were ready to believe the entire C.COR plant would close. "This came like a bolt out of the blue. We never expected said state Senate President Pro Tern Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair. ".With the downturn in the economy, we thought there may be some layoffs, but nothing like this." State Rep. Larry 0. Sather, R- Huntingdon, said the Governor's Action Team will get involved in the C-COR closing. The team often is called in after plant closings to see if the decision can be reversed, and if not, to try to assist displaced workers and help market vacant industrial or manufacturing facilities. Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Woodle said the company has no plans to reopen the Tipton facility in the Ardie J. Dillen Business Park. The remaining demand for the Tipton plant's products will be filled by workers in the company's remaining manufacturing plant in Tijuana, Mexico, said Please see A6 Car shop workers petition federal agency for help BY CRAIG WILLIAMS Staff Writer Workers at the Hollidaysburg Car Shop have decided they aren't going to take Norfolk Southern Corp.'s closing of the plant lying down. The union.has petitioned the Surface Transportation Board, a regulatory agency of Congress, to look at commitments Norfolk Southern made to the state and to workers during talks leading to the split of Corn-ail in 1998. At issue is a three-year commit- ment to keep the shop working. The union wants the federal gov- ernment to intervene and keep the shop open, said Tom Lutton, presi- dent of the local Transportation Union Workers, which represents more than 350 workers at the shop. According to the petition, the railroad is backing away from a commitment made to service at least rail cars from CSX Corp., Lutton said. So far, only 350 units of that contract have been fulfilled, and more work is avail- able, the union contends. "They failed to live up to the commitments they made to the state of Pennsylvania, to the work- ers of our pjant and to the Congress of the United Lutton said of the petition. Also under scrutiny-is the rail- road's commitment to a clause in the STB merger proceedings com- monly referred to as the "New York Dock agreements." The clause essentially protects rail workers from losing then- jobs in the event of a merger. According to the act, employees of the absorbed railroad must be offered work under similar condi- tions and at a similar pay scale elsewhere in the company when their jobs are eliminated. The railroad has said it will uphold the clause by offering posi- tions at its facilities across the East Coast and Midwest when the plant closes in September. "We feel that the company is lying about the transfer of work. It is not actually a transfer of work. They are trying to get away from their commitments on New York" Lutton said. When contacted Friday, Norfolk Southern spokesman Rudy Husband said the railroad will respond to the petition in time, j "I'm not going to respond to aAy of the allegations in the said. "The railroad will respond to the petition at the appropriate times." Please see A6 Latest attempt to settle suit between Curve owners fails BY PHIL RAY StaffWriter was ten- sion in the U.S. District Courthouse in Johnstown Friday as Judge D. Brooks Smith, a week before Opening Day, attempted to settle a lawsuit between the Altoona Curve's two owners. But like the green outfield grass and the aroma of cooking ham- Former Curve players released by PAGE B1 burgers at Blair County Ballpark, the legal duel will be a part of the Curve as it enters its third year of existence. Attempts to settle the dispute in the past have failed, and on Friday, the latest attempt proved fruitless as well. The struggle between majority owner Robert Lozinak of Balti- more and minority owner J. Taylor "Tate" DeWeese of Bedford centers on who makes the deci- sions affecting Curve baseball and what percentage of the team DeWeese is entitled to. Neither side nor Smith had much to say after a marathon Please see AS On track Residents vow to fight motorcycle racing track Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington II BY BETH N. GRAY For the Mirror SCHELLSBURG Neighbors of a motorcycle drag-racing track under construction in Napier Township plan to press their con- cerns about the project with town- ship supervisors. The neighbors, calling them- selves the Napier Township Citizens Alliance, are urging area residents to attend the supervi- sors' meeting at p.m. Monday at the municipal building. The group said developer Kevin Beaver is violating earthmoving requirements and that there are no local ordinances regulating such facilities. Spearheading the fight against the New Paris Dirt Dragway being developed along Hoover Road are Nancy MacRae, Robin and Tammy Please see A3 Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 I Lottery numbers, A2 Mix of sun, clouds, 44" Forecast, A2 It Altoona THE GREAT COMBINATION Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7547 Business Movies Obituaries Opinion Local Scoreboard A4 All A8 B5 QNMMN Classifieds C3-12 Comics DS Community news D2 Puzzles D4 Television D4 TVMirror   

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