FANNIN COUNTY, Tex. -- Earlier this month, the GE plant in Bonham announced more than 30 layoffs. Now city leaders are trying to do all they can to keep that operation in town.
The announcement two weeks ago by GE not only surprised the employees but Bonham leaders as well, who are always trying to attract and keep businesses in the city.
On Thursday, they are set to meet with GE representatives to try and find a way to keep the plant operational.
"You’re talking about 50 people out of our work force that don’t have a job, and that is a big hit on Bonham, Texas," says Bonham mayor Roy Floyd.
Bonham mayor Roy Floyd says he is proud of the number of jobs the city has been able to bring in, which is why he was so discouraged when he heard GE planned to move their operation elsewhere.
"In today’s economy, (businesses) are going off shore, which hurts not only Fannin County but all of this part of the country has been hurt by these companies going off shore."
On august 9, GE Zenith controls plant employees were told that by March of 2008.
The plant would be closing to better utilize GE facilities across the nation.
"It’s a difficult message, its a tough message to deliver, and its a tough message to hear and we try to be as honest as we can. This is a merely a business decision, its not a reflection of these people," says plant manager Jim Flemming.
But due to GE company policy the move will not be made final until employees have been allowed to present alternatives to the plan.
Mayor Floyd says he believes the city has a good case.
"We have low wage rates, we have labor and so it’s one thing that we try hard to let them know how much we appreciate them and how much we want them to stay."
The plant has been a staple to the Bonham business landscape. Before GE, Schlumberger, and ACT operated out of the building, and with Bonham continuing to grow. Floyd says the city not only wants to keep the plant in Bonham but add to it, increasing the size of the operation.
If the plant does move its operations, it will begin to do so within the next three months, leaving 34 hourly employees out of work.