Loss of high-tech Sony felt hardest by force of highly skilled workers.Byline: Matt Cooper Matt Cooper may refer to:
SPRINGFIELD - Sony's gone.
Sony Disc Manufacturing ended its eight-year presence here with shocking finality fi·nal·i·ty
n. pl. fi·nal·i·ties
1. The condition or fact of being final.
2. A final, conclusive, or decisive act or utterance.
Noun 1. Wednesday, suddenly closing its factory, leaving teary employees and the rest of Eugene-Springfield to pick up the pieces.
The entertainment giant announced that it had "ceased operations" at the Gateway area manufacturing plant that employed 277 people. The cause: sagging sag
v. sagged, sag·ging, sags
1. To sink, droop, or settle from pressure or weight.
2. demand for music CDs and a restructuring of its struggling parent company, Sony Music Entertainment Sony Music Entertainment is a major global record label controlled by the Sony Corporation. In 1988, Sony Corporation acquired CBS Records, Inc. for $2 billion. CBS Inc., now CBS Corporation, retained the rights to the CBS name, and Sony renamed the label .
The immediate closure of the prestigious high-tech employer will hurt the factory's suppliers and business partners, and sharply reduce Sony's property tax payments, although these losses don't seem to be overwhelming.
For Sony employees, however, the opposite is true: They're suddenly out of work and trying to recover from an announcement that left some of them feeling blindsided.
What does Starr Barton think of Sony? Barton, a printer of six years with the company, just started crying. "We're all really upset," she said. "We're all a big family in there and it happened really suddenly."
Some employees sensed Wednesday's announcement looming looming: see mirage. in the CD industry's stagnancy. Rumors of a closure or cutback cut·back
1. A decrease; a curtailment: "The political effects of food cutbacks could be devastating" New York Times.
2. at the International Way factory had intensified in recent days.
But the news - made in brief company notifications to some local officials on Tuesday, and at a closed meeting to employees at the plant on Wednesday - still was surprising to insiders, neighboring neigh·bor
1. One who lives near or next to another.
2. A person, place, or thing adjacent to or located near another.
3. A fellow human.
4. Used as a form of familiar address.
v. businesses and others.
Sony's public comment has been limited to a single press release, four paragraphs long, which it released Wednesday afternoon. No company officials have agreed to talk.
Sony didn't always try to keep such a low profile. Government officials lavished $12 million worth of subsidies and tax breaks on Sony in the past eight years; Sony has made many generous local charitable donations, and Sony executive Tom Costabile, while he headed the plant, took a prominent role in fostering economic development in Eugene-Springfield.
Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken said Sony could have warned the community about the pending closure.
"How Sony tells their employees, that is their business," Leiken said. "From my vantage point, it would have been easier if we'd had a communique letting us know what's going on Verb 1. know what's going on - be well-informed
be on the ball, be with it, know the score, know what's what
know - know how to do or perform something; "She knows how to knit"; "Does your husband know how to cook?" and how we can be dealing with this."
Employees spoke well of Sony even minutes after the announcement, but many were uncertain of their next moves.
Tony Riddle riddle, puzzling question, specifically one that consists of a fanciful description or definition of something to be guessed. A famous riddle was asked by the Sphinx: "What goes on four legs in the morning, on two at noon, on three at night?" Oedipus guessed the said he'd try to find computer work locally "or just move on elsewhere," while Pam Warden, who worked in shipping and receiving, planned to balance her job search with the purchase of a puppy.
Myles Ralston, a 35-year-old maintenance technician and father of two, will consider going back to school to train as a machinist. "Thank you for the employment," he said. "I wish it could have been longer."
Sony's relations with workers have been stressful at times.
In 1997, union officials launched an unsuccessful drive to organize the plant, claiming employees were concerned about high turnover and heavy overtime. Early last year, following the layoff Layoff
1. When a company eliminates jobs regardless of how good the employees' performance. 2. A risk reduction, made by investment bankers, that minimizes the potential downside associated with a commitment to purchase and sell a stock issue unsubscribed by stockholders holding of 70 workers, several workers complained Sony had given them no severance pay Severance Pay
Compensation that an employer gives to someone who is about to lose their job.
Severance pay is not always paid to employees. It depends on the situation in which the employee is losing their job and whether legislation requires severance to be paid. . Sony wasn't legally required to give severance at that time, but many companies typically do so to reward longtime employees who are laid off.
This time around, workers will have a legal claim to a severance package A severance package is pay and benefits an employee receives when they leave employment at a company. In addition to the employee's remaining regular pay, it may include some of the following:
As for finding new work, Sony employees "have the advantage of being well-skilled and highly motivated," said Jack Roberts Jack Roberts (September 27, 1910 - October 1981) was an American football running back in the NFL for the Boston Redskins, Staten Island Stapletons, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played college football at the University of Georgia. , executive director of the Lane Metropolitan Partnership. That makes them an asset in attracting other businesses to the area, he said.
But Forster said most of Sony's workers - those in production, typically earning $9 to $10 an hour - will struggle to find similar work here, because their skills were specific to the only manufacturer of its kind in Lane County.
Sony employees in technology and management will be employable locally, Forster said, but those on the highest rungs will have to look elsewhere.
"It's a sad closure because they've been a great corporate partner in Lane County," Forster said. "It's important for people to realize that there will be jobs for people, it may take some time, they may need to change their career choices or be trained, but in the long term there will be job opportunities."
One big bruise bruise
Visible bluish or purplish mark beneath the surface of unbroken skin, indicating burst blood vessels in deeper tissue layers. Bruises are usually caused by a blow or pressure, but they may occur spontaneously in elderly persons. to Lane County is the loss of the Sony name - a well-regarded international brand. That loss is hard to quantify, but other effects of the closure can be measured in dollars and cents.
For the fiscal year that ends June 30, Sony will pay $832,000 in taxes, Lane County taxation manager Angela Smith Angela Smith may refer to:
Sony will still have to pay property taxes on its plant for the fiscal year July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2004, based on the plant's value as of Jan. 1, 2003, Smith said.
After that, the taxable value of the plant may be cut if it remains empty.
Companies that thrived off Sony - at one point, the manufacturer did business with 460 of them in Eugene-Springfield - will have to rethink their budgets.
One obvious company is 136-employee Shorewood Packaging, a stone's throw stone's throw
A short distance.
a short distance
Noun 1. from Sony on International Way.
Plant Manager Eileen Bartko said that while 30 percent of her company's business was related to Sony, much of it was only indirectly tied to the manufacturer, and the local Shorewood plant will survive.
Full City coffee roasters, which once held a contract as Sony's vendor, will feel the hit as Sony employees stop showing up at the Eugene stores for lattes on their way to work, owner Michael Phinney said.
"The money they spend in the community, the taxes they pay - that will all be gone," Phinney said.
Springfield's mayor struggled to quantify the departure of what was once the city's signature high-tech company.
"There's no doubt that Sony was the beginning of truly lifting the image of our community from more of a blue-collar, timber-dependent town to looking at high-tech opportunities," Leiken said. "We're all disappointed, but we're not discouraged - it was a huge victory, a catalyst that has built our industrial park into a real positive."
Stu Burge, a Springfield councilor coun·cil·or also coun·cil·lor
A member of a council, as one convened to advise a governor. See Usage Note at council.
coun whose ward includes Sony, also put the closure in philosophic perspective: "These things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
2. happen," he said. "It's too bad for the community, especially the employees. That's a real tragedy. But we'll survive with or without Sony."
At a nearby sandwich shop, however, the reaction wasn't as hopeful - "a cloud of despair," in the words of Edward Barbian, manager of Quizno's Subs.
Barbian said he counted on Sony for 5 percent to 10 percent of his lunch crowd.
Customers Sue Atkinson and Angela Stockdall worried about the employees, the loss of tax money and the departure of a large employer.
Nobody saw a silver lining silver lining
A hopeful or comforting prospect in the midst of difficulty.
[From the proverb "Every cloud has a silver lining". .
"It's one more high-tech firm leaving the area," Barbian said, "and it's disappointing."
Reporter Sherri Buri McDonald contributed to this report.
At upcoming meetings, Lane Workforce Partnership will help Sony employees find work.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Workforce Network, 2510 Oakmont Way (Conference Room 1).
An emotional Starr Barton leaves the Sony plant Wednesday: "We're all really upset. We're all a big family in there and it happened really suddenly." Sony: Employees due severance, but many may have to leave area Continued from Page A1