Updated 04/26/2012 06:26 PM
Plans in the works to help Orion employees
There still aren't many details known about what Daimler's restructuring will mean for the 480 employees at Oriskany's Orion bus plant. Daimler officials say it's too early to tell how many of them may lose their jobs. Our Sarah Blazonis tells us how Oneida County leaders are preparing for bad news by helping workers prepare for what may be next.
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ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Hometown pride was on full display when one of the newest Oriskany-made Orion buses was unveiled last month.
"They take a lot of pride in their workmanship and in the buses that they make. It seems to me that everyone that does work there has the best interest of the company at heart," said Michael Geddes, Vice President of Shane Trucking. The company is located right across the street from Orion and is one of its suppliers.
Though Daimler hasn't said how many jobs could be lost once bus production ends, he says any potential layoffs are sad news for the area -- and county leaders agree.
"It's devastating," said County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. "It's a huge blow to the region, it's a blow to the economy in terms of the other suppliers and businesses that Daimler does business with."
The facility in Oriskany has been part of the Oneida County community for 30 years, and any loss of jobs could hit longtime workers especially hard.
County Executive Anthony Picente says counselors will be set up within the next few days at a building near the Orion site to talk to employees about getting back into the job market.
Meetings are also scheduled with major local employers Midair and Premier Aviation, where workers can put their specific skill sets to good use.
"Some of the electrical and technical knowledge and skills that they have can be utilized and those two employers are looking for more, are looking to expand," said Picente.
Daimler says the facility will still be used for parts and field service work. Any layoffs would take place within the year as production winds down.