Lucent to leave the state, 600 lose jobs

Friday, November 30th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Another 600 people will lose their jobs at the Lucent Technologies plant as the result of its sale to a Canadian-based electronics manufacturer, union officials said.

Celestica Inc., a Canadian-based electronics manufacturing company, takes over employment contracts Saturday at the plant, once one of the city's biggest employers.

Of the 1,864 union employees working at the plant today, 757 will transfer to Celestica. Another 430 union members will continue working at the plant for the next eight weeks under a contract with a temporary personnel agency.

The plant had more than 9,000 employees at one time and more than 4,000 as recently as last year.

Celestica bought the plant in September. Lucent sold its Oklahoma City operations and its sister plant in Columbus, Ohio, for $570 million.

More than 1,000 Oklahoma City workers accepted early retirement and voluntary severance in June. About 200 workers volunteered for a buy-out offer in September.

Most of the separated workers have received a lump-sum payment of at least $11,000 said Bryan Flickinger, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1599, which represents clerical and management workers at the plant.

``Anyone who worked here two years or more, got at least $11,000,'' Flickinger said. ``Some who were here 30 years got up to $90,000.'' The payment was calculated using years of employment.

Lucent began shopping for a buyer for the Oklahoma City and Columbus plants more than a year ago. A slumping telecommunications industry has hurt the company, leaving it with multi-billion dollar losses and forcing thousands of job cuts worldwide.

John Cole, program supervisor for the dislocated worker unit at the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and a team of employment counselors were at the plant Friday, giving job hunting and retraining information to the dismissed workers.

``Considering the magnitude of this layoff, we wanted to make ourselves available,'' he said. ``Some of these people have been here more than 18 years. We want them to be competitive when they go out into the job market.''