Cummins workers kept on until December

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Employees at Cummins Filtration in this city found out Monday that they will not be laid off until sometime in December, instead of at the end of May.

Many of the workers are upset because many used their vacation time thinking that they would be done in May. If they quit to move on with new plans, they will not be eligible for severance packages, unemployment benefits or the government Trade Adjustment Assistance program that reimburses people for schooling if they are out of work.

“Myself and a lot of other people have already tried to move on,” worker Ann Fairchild said. “I’ve been looking at schooling and different job opportunities.”

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Fairchild lives in Fertile, Iowa, and has worked as an assembler at Cummins for almost 18 years. She has appreciated having a job, but now would like the opportunity to move on.

Another worker who has been at Cummins for 18 years is Tammy Schuttler from Grafton, Iowa.

“I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings,” Schuttler said. “I can see the good and the bad.”

Schuttler was already planning what she would do after working at Cummins, but that will have to be put on hold until December.

“The stress level is just over the wall,” Schuttler said. “We didn’t really expect this the first time when they told us and to do this again … we can only handle so much stress.”

Cummins announced in August that it would cut about 400 jobs between November and March, and then workers were given a 60-day layoff notice at the beginning of April. The company is moving the jobs to a plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

The workers in the plant in Lake Mills will need to keep working until December because the plant in Mexico has millions of dollars in back orders and can’t keep up with the demand. Schuttler said some people have been working six or seven days a week and some 10-hour shifts to keep up. She said some people are worried that they could be fired.

“We don’t want to get fired or quit and lose our severance,” Schuttler said.

Updated story

Cummins plant understands frustrations