GC Shutdown Creating Ripple Effect

6-16-05 - General Cable's departure this summer from Bonham is expected to create a ripple effect that will be felt from city hall to local restaurants. The company announced on Wednesday that it would close in 2 months - putting more than 170 workers out of work.

For the past 47 years, General Cable has been a staple in the community, from one of the biggest employers to the biggest property taxpayer.

Bill Jones, Executive Director of Chamber of Commerce, said, “We're going to have to do something to recoup all that."

The Chamber has formed a volunteer economic development team to aggressively look at ways to recruit businesses to Bonham. One manufacturing company which would employee 50 workers is already looking, while it’s considerably fewer jobs than General Cable, it is a start.

However, it may be the end of spending money for some until they find new jobs. Lots of General Cable Workers usually made a quick stop through the buffet line at the River Bend restaurant or even got their food delivered to the plant. Owner Jean Craige says her business may soon suffer, but she is just as concerned with the disappearance of a Bonham icon.

Craige said, “Bonham to me is a really beautiful town. It has a lot of history and General Cable has been a part of Bonham for such a long time, its like losing a part of history."

But the future for General Cable workers may be a county away, possibly at Tyson or if it is in the cards, still in Bonham.

General Cable blames the closure on the lack of demand for what this plant produces. They say they're not relocating these jobs overseas. But the U.S. Department of Labor just announced that previous layoffs were related to foreign trade and those workers may qualify for benefits, including reemployment assistance, job search allowances, relocation allowances, training, income support, or tax credits for qualifying medical insurance coverage. Additionally, affected workers over age 50 may qualify for a wage subsidy if they become reemployed at a wage lower than they were receiving when they were laid off. For more information, contact Workforce Centers in Bonham, 1205 East Sam Rayburn Drive, (903) 640-0222; Denison, 2415 South Austin Avenue, (903) 463-9997; and Gainesville, 900 North Grand Avenue, (940) 665-1121.

Union Representatives and corporate officials are still working out a severance package and possibly even a bonus for workers affected by the summer closure.

They'll meet again Friday morning.