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Published: Wednesday, 12/3/2008

Textileather to lay off 115 at end of January

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The company is pursuing new business in the golf cart, motorcycle, and marine seating industries. The company is pursuing new business in the golf cart, motorcycle, and marine seating industries.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Textileather Corp., which can trace its Toledo roots back to the turn of the 20th century, plans to lay off nearly three-fourths of its 159 employees at the end of January because of limited work from the slumping auto industry.

The company, owned by Canada General-Tower Ltd., filed notice with the state and also informed union officials that it plans indefinite layoffs for 88 of 115 unionized workers and 27 of 39 salaried employees on or about Jan. 31.

James Raber, human resource manager for Textileather, at 3729 Twining St., said a decrease in work by auto manufactures has meant too little work for the Toledo plant and another company plant in Cambridge, Ont. As a result, some Toledo work is being shifted to the Canadian plant, leaving about 45 hourly and salaried employees at the Toledo plant.

Textileather makes vinyl-coated fabrics used in vehicle seats and door panels. About 95 percent of its work is for the auto industry, but Mr. Raber said to preserve its workforce the company has made a concerted effort to obtain new business in the golf cart, motorcycle, and marine seating industries.

"The problem is we won't know the outcome of our efforts until after January," Mr. Raber said. However, he stressed that the company has no plans to close the plant.

Officials of Local 224-T, Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees/Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees union, which represents Textileather's 115 unionized workers, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Textileather has long, rich, and often stormy chapters in Toledo's manufacturing history. At times it employed well over 600 and was the target of major strikes.

It began in the early 1900s as the Toledo Die Works but soon moved into coated fabrics. During World War II, a previous plant on the site made corduroy material for wartime use.

For several decades, Textileather was owned by the former General Tire & Rubber Co., which became GenCorp.

In 1991, GenCorp. sold the Toledo plant to its employees, who ran it until 1995, when Canadian General-Tower acquired it.

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.



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