Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Cortland/Ithaca

Philips closing its doors late next year

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Philips closing its doors late next year
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It will be about a year before the Philips Light Facility in Bath closes its doors and 280 people will be out of a job. The move to shut down was announced this week. But local leaders say they will be using that time to influence a change of heart. Our Katie Husband has more from the workers and local leaders who hope the decision is not final.

BATH, N.Y. -- The reality is still setting in for many just getting the news this week they would soon be out of a job, but some say it's a move they saw coming.

"There was no reaction. It's been coming for a long time. They've been phasing out for years, so," said Jeff Walike, a Philips employee.

Walike has been with the company for 25 years as a Product Group Specialist. He says they have been phasing out other departments in the last few years so they knew something was coming.

"We figured a year or two and they're giving us an extra year, so it's a year sooner than what we thought," said Walike.

After receiving the official notice from Philips, village and county leaders immediately contacted corporate officials to see what they can do to try and reverse the decision.

"We're encouraged by the possibility of trying to reverse this and we're just doing the best we can with what we have right now," said Village of Bath Mayor John Stranges.

"Normally when something like this happens, you know the decision has already been made and there's not an opportunity, but we're going to make every effort to engage them and to see if that's a possibility," said James Johnson, executive director Steuben County Industrial Development Agency.

Philips says the decision was based on the changing lighting industry and the move to different types of technologies. But local leaders say they want to pitch ideas like producing newer products that are able to keep up with the competition. But for now employees are thinking about what comes next.

"I'm going to vacation for a little bit and I'll just pick up and go on. A lot of us have things we can do and you know, it's not the only job I've done, so," said Walike.

Representatives for the region want to meet with Philips officials in the near future. But if the decision is not reversed, they plan to work with the company to help employees find other opportunities.

The facility will close by next November or December.

We reached out to Philips for additional details, but we did not get a response.

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