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Hope remains for Pacific Crest Transformers workers

WHITE CITY — The union representing many of Pacific Crest Transformers' employees indicated Wednesday jobs could be saved if the plant is sold by Nov. 13.

Los Angeles-based equity investment firm OpenGate Capital acquired the plant on West Antelope Road from French conglomerate Areva for $7 million in February 2005. The transformer design, manufacturing and repair company notified International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 659 it would lay off more than 100 union and non-union employees "due to financial reasons" Sept. 14, the same day it filed a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice with state and federal agencies.

Business Manager Banjo Reed responded for the IBEW Wednesday, saying the union, representing 71 employees, is prepared whether a buyer is found or layoffs occur.

Pacific Crest Transformers has informed the IBEW that it has until Nov. 13 to enter into an agreement with a buyer for its White City-based manufacturing plant, Reed said in a statement.

Pacific Crest Transformers' management team is confident that a suitable buyer will be found by the deadline, Reed said. If a buyer isn't found by the deadline, it is anticipated all union and non-union employees will be terminated.

"The IBEW is working to ensure our membership is prepared, regardless of the outcome," Reed said. "Despite these current challenges, the IBEW and Pacific Crest Transformers' local management team continue to have a great relationship. To that end, the IBEW has been working to expand Pacific Crest Transformers' market share by connecting them with representatives from utility companies it represents throughout Oregon and the West Coast."

Despite the uncertainty, Reed said, the rank-and-file members maintain a positive outlook and dedication to the company. If a new owner doesn't emerge, the union will prepare its members for the transition.

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.