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Labinal Factory To Close, Lay Off 485 Workers

Manufacturer of wiring harnesses for the aerospace industry plans to close its factory in 2009, jeopardizing the jobs of 485 people in Pryor, Okla.

PRYOR, Okla. (AP) -- Labinal Inc., which builds wiring harnesses for the aerospace industry, plans to close its factory in 2009, jeopardizing the jobs of 485 people in the Mid-America Industrial Park in Pryor.

"It's been a good plant, they've hired a lot of people," said Don Siever of Pryor. "We've all got friends or relatives that work out there, just about."

Employees at other local businesses expressed concern over the news. The announcement comes just four months after Georgia-Pacific announced that it was shutting down the paper plant it had operated in Pryor for 44 years. That move affected more than 100 jobs.

"That's going to affect us; I mean that's a lot of people," said Tim Hill, an employee at the Dollar Store in Pryor, which has a population of almost 10,000.

Labinal said in a news release Monday that executives of the Corinth, Texas-based company told Pryor employees that they are assured jobs for the next 60 days.

Labinal has offered incentive packages to encourage employees to stay until the factory formally closes, the release said. It has established a career center on the grounds to provide resources to laid-off employees.

"This decision was a business necessity but has absolutely nothing to do with the people we have at this plant," Labinal Chairman and CEO Norman Jordan said at a news conference at the factory.

He said the closure was unrelated to a strike by Boeing Co. employees but noted that all Labinal operations have been affected by the strike and current economic conditions.

He said that many jobs at the factory were lost when the airline industry took a hit after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but that its employment had rebounded during the past several years.

Work from Pryor will go to Labinal's factories in Corinth, Texas, and Chihuahua, Mexico. Jordan said the company has not determined how many jobs will go to each site but that a majority would go to Mexico.

Mayor Jimmy Tramel said he believed that the city will rebound.

"It's a shock, but well get through it," he said. "We're a diverse community and we've got great infrastructure. The bottom line is, we'll help the employees as much as we can out there."

The Mid-America Industrial Park lured Google Inc. to its 9,000 acres in 2007. Officials of the park said in March that they would spend $1.3 million to construct two 30,000-square-foot buildings to try to attract businesses.

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