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Coachmen won't move workers to other plants

Coachmen Industries workers will be shopping for new jobs this holiday season, after being notified their employer has called it quits in Grants Pass.

The Indiana-based company announced Monday it will close its Grants Pass production plant, incorporating travel trailer and fifth wheel manufacturing activities into the company's four remaining facilities.

The displaced Grants Pass workers are not being offered positions at the company's Indiana plants, which are set to absorb the Northwest production activity.

About 80 Coachmen employees spent last week working with the Southern Oregon Rapid Response Team, a consortium of local employment and re-training agencies.

Coachmen Industries abandoned their Southern Oregon presence because of a lack of profitability, said Val Ramsdell, of the Oregon Employment Development office.

This plant has just not been economically feasible for them, Ramsdell said.

Coachmen's $8- to $10-an-hour positions — relatively high-paying for the Josephine job market — will be difficult to replace, she added.

Although workers might find positions with other area manufacturing businesses, Ramsdell said a traditional seasonal slack in production activity translates to a lean selection of available jobs.

This is a hard time of year, she said. November and December are traditionally the time of year companies are shutting down to do their annual maintenance. (Workers) are probably facing a couple of months of unemployment and having to face Christmas with reduced income.

Coachmen Industries opened their Grants Pass plant in 1996.

Reach reporter at 776-4463, or e-mail