Chrysler plant closing worries businesses

December 16, 2008 3:44:23 PM PST
Even before Newark's Chrysler Plant shuts down at the end of the week, the effects can be felt throughout the region.That's especially true for workers at the nearby Lear plant, where workers found out that they will be among the next to lose their jobs.

The company is less than a mile away from the Chrysler Plant, which will shut down a year ahead of schedule.

For the 136 workers at Lear, that means their work will abruptly halt too, because they make the seats for the Dodge Durango, the SUV made at Chrysler.

"I'm 47 years old and it's going to be hard, even for me," said Lear employee Joy O'Hara. "I"ve even tried the 7-Eleven, Wawa, McDonald's. Not hardly anybody is hiring so it's really rough."

Rough for workers like Marty Baker, who earns about $18 per hour making Durango seats.

"Everybody's here just looking for anything that's somewhat close to what we make now, which we know is not going to be likely to happen," Baker said.

No one at Lear would talk to Action News. A company spokesman saying only two other U.S. plants supplying the automaker will also be forced to close.

Another business worried about the shutdown: The Grill at Mailins Deli, which has been burning for 34 years, serving food to customers who work at both Chrysler and Lear. The giant loss in business may mean someone at the deli will be laid off.

"You've got those people who work in the plant. Anybody who came to work in the morning spent money, they leave when they go home, stop for business and spend money and we're not going to have that, so its going to be rough," said Ken Mailin.

The full impact from the closing of the Chrysler plant hasn't been tallied yet, but all agree it will be tough to swallow.

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