The stateline economy takes yet another hit. Motorola is closing its Rockford radio support center. This is a big hit. Motorola employs more than 500 people here. Half will be headed to Elgin where the company is consolidating operations, but for the remainder, it'll be tough to find work in an already saturated jobless market.
Thursday’s announcement at the Rockford radio repair facility comes as the company celebrates its 75th anniversary, but that longevity is lost on the 250 people whose jobs will move to Elgin or the remainder who will have to look elsewhere.
Calling it a difficult decision, Motorola says it is part of a long term plan, but Fred Dempsey, who's only worked at the plant for a month, says there is no such thing as the long term.
Thursday's announcement only adds to the long list of closing from Motorola. The company moved into this 60,000 square foot plant in September of 1996. In 98 it adds more jobs to its Harvard cellular telephone plant only to see half of those jobs disappear two and a half years later. Just last year Motorola closed the Harvard plant.
Over the years, the company has reduced its worldwide employment by almost half from 150,000 to 90,000 jobs. Rockford Mayor Doug Scott is in Tacoma, Washington for a Chamber of Commerce meeting, but he did have this written response to Thursday's closing.
"I am extremely disappointed with the news from Motorola. Obviously, Motorola is a company faced with some serious challenges. Many times we get advance word that this type of announcement is coming, but I spoke with senior company officials within the last few weeks and no mention was made of the Rockford facility being closed."
Scott says he's extremely disappointed with the news from Motorola. Obviously, he says, Motorola is faced with serious challenges. Many times, he says, we get advance word that this type of announcement is coming. However, Scott says he spoke with senior company officials within the last few weeks and no mention was made of the Rockford facility being closed.
Scott also says he will set up a meeting with company representatives within the next few weeks to discuss the closing.