AKRON, Ohio - Hundreds of workers at the Lockheed Martin plant in Akron remain on edge as rumors continue to swirl that the facility on Massillon Road could be closed.
"It would be very devastating. It would hurt," said Chuck Stayshich, a machinist at the plant.
The concern started late last week after The Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y. reported the giant defense contractor had a strategy that could include closing the Akron plant and transferring jobs to other states.
Stayshich, who is also the vice president of UAW Local 856, said the union represents about 100 hourly employees. The remaining 400 employees are salaried
"Everybody is concerned. We're concerned for our jobs," he said.
Fred Jones, President of Local 856, said news of a possible shutdown "came out of the blue" and employees heard nothing about a potential timeframe.
"Usually, they would have to give them a 60-day notice to close for hourly people, and they gave no timeframe about shutting it down," Jones said.
Lockheed Martin released the following statement to NewsChannel5:
Given the current sequestration environment, we have to look across our business and determine what actions are required to maintain our competitiveness and the health of our business, and restructuring is one of the options we consider, but no decisions have been taken. In the meantime, Lockheed Martin operations in Akron continue to work in support of our customers and our country.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic has been in contact with the company as well Governor John Kasich's office, state senators and Ohio congressmen. He's fighting to keep the rumors from becoming reality.
"Akron is not the place to cut. This has been a successful project. They've had successful projects because this is a very competitive plant... We're fighting like crazy to make sure we keep these jobs. They're good jobs. They're well paid," Plusquellic said.
The Lockheed Martin Akron plant develops and builds tethered blimps for the military along with weapon, laser and sensor systems.