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Wind-turbine plant rehiring employees

Workers applauded as Gov. Ed Rendell on Thursday made it official – all 79 employees laid off three months ago from a Cambria County wind-turbine plant are back at work. And Spain-based Gamesa U.S.A. will be able to hire an additional 50 workers at its Ebensburg-area plant.

EBENSBURG — Workers applauded as Gov. Ed Rendell on Thursday made it official – all 79 employees laid off three months ago from a Cambria County wind-turbine plant are back at work.

And Spain-based Gamesa U.S.A. will be able to hire an additional 50 workers at its Ebensburg-area plant, thanks to $22.8 million in wind energy projects Rendell announced during his visit to the facility.

Union leaders were jubilant.

“Gamesa continues to invest in manufacturing right here and continues save U.S. jobs,” said Rob Winterall of United Steelworkers of America Local 2635.

“Believe me, to our union where a company is located does matter,” he said, drawing applause from the workers gathered in the Gamesa plant to hear Rendell’s announcement.

In November, Gamesa U.S.A. furloughed more than half the employees at the facility built in 2005 at the Cambria County Industrial Park in Cambria Township.

The governor delivered his good news to an audience of local officials and Gamesa workers in the vast room where the turbines are assembled.

He credited federal recovery funds under President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan with making it all happen.

Calling the recent recession “the darkest days since... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

EBENSBURG — Workers applauded as Gov. Ed Rendell on Thursday made it official – all 79 employees laid off three months ago from a Cambria County wind-turbine plant are back at work.

And Spain-based Gamesa U.S.A. will be able to hire an additional 50 workers at its Ebensburg-area plant, thanks to $22.8 million in wind energy projects Rendell announced during his visit to the facility.

Union leaders were jubilant.

“Gamesa continues to invest in manufacturing right here and continues save U.S. jobs,” said Rob Winterall of United Steelworkers of America Local 2635.

“Believe me, to our union where a company is located does matter,” he said, drawing applause from the workers gathered in the Gamesa plant to hear Rendell’s announcement.

In November, Gamesa U.S.A. furloughed more than half the employees at the facility built in 2005 at the Cambria County Industrial Park in Cambria Township.

The governor delivered his good news to an audience of local officials and Gamesa workers in the vast room where the turbines are assembled.

He credited federal recovery funds under President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan with making it all happen.

Calling the recent recession “the darkest days since the 1930s,” Rendell said recovery plans are finally working.

“Think back to January 2009, when it came out that 750,000 jobs had been lost in the previous year. At this time this year, 20,000 jobs were lost in a year,” Rendell said.

“There’s been a lot of differences as to whether the stimulus program is working. Today proves that it is,” he said.

“While some naysayers – often, critics who have little personally at stake – have questioned whether it was the right thing to do, the reality is that the Recovery Act kept our nation from sinking deeper into economic quicksand.”

Rendell called the Gamesa plant “one of the premier examples in Pennsylvania, if not the nation, of how we can build a 21st century green economy.”

“With the support of federal Recovery Act funding, this plant will return to full production and start up a second manufacturing line,” he said.

Rendell cited worker Eric Sheesley of Nanty Glo as an example of recovery success.

“Sheesley was laid off from his quality inspector job just before Thanksgiving. His wife was able to pick up extra hours at her receptionist position, but the family mostly relied on Eric’s unemployment,” the governor said.

Sheesley is among the 79 who returned to work at Gamesa on Monday.

In Pennsylvania, the federal act helped avoid massive layoffs, provided relief to families in need, made higher education more affordable for students and enabled employers to hire and retain workers,” he said.

Pennsylvania companies have received more than $800 million for green energy projects such as wind power. That, plus the $1 billion in state funds during the last seven years ranks Pennsylvania third in growth of green jobs, trailing only Texas and California.

Rendell stressed that the $22.8 million in wind contracts he announced Thursday, although not all directly awarded to Gamesa, will benefit the company because of expected orders for wind turbines made at the Ebensburg plant.

That plant was partially funded through $9.3 million in state assistance in 2005.

Gamesa since has retooled the plant and invested in site improvements.

“We are committed to this area, and we welcome the governor’s announcement,” said Gamesa spokesman Michael Peck.


Source: http://www.tribune-democrat...

FEB 19 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/24706-wind-turbine-plant-rehiring-employees
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