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IBM Moving Jobs Out of Rochester

Posted at: 03/06/2013 6:44 PM
Updated at: 03/06/2013 6:48 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 News) -- IBM says they are moving the manufacturing to Mexico and New York to maximize efficiency. Hundreds will lose their jobs with the decision and it could hurt our local economy.

As one of the area’s largest employers IBM has long played a big role in Rochester’s economy. While area leaders say it's never good to lose jobs, members of IBM workers union are downright angry.

The news surrounding the Destination Medical Center and the economic growth it would bring to Rochester, stirs excitement. The news of IBM cutting jobs does the opposite.

"Well it's certainly news we never want to hear, but it also reminds us that we are not immune from the impacts of a global economy," President of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce John Wade.

He says IBM's cuts to its manufacturing in Rochester will certainly have an impact in the community.

"It's a concern when that same presence of a strong employer like IBM makes a change and needs to because of their own business plan," said Wade.

With IBM moving those manufacturing jobs to Mexico and New York, it stirs even stronger emotions from IBM employees.

"To us this is a real betrayal to Rochester employees and the state of Minnesota, were in the midst of an economic recovery and they’re moving jobs from Rochester to Mexico," said IBM union rep Lee Conrad.

Lee Conrad is the head of IBM’s union titles alliance at IBM. He is encouraging all IBM employees as well as the Rochester community to take action.

"I think employees need to contact management and protest very loudly about jobs being moved out of the county, and they should also contact their political reps," said Conrad.

With part of the DMC initiative being an effort to diversify Rochester's workforce this move is not any help.

Gary Smith of Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. says in the end DMC may be able to help those laid off from this move.

"This is a setback, when you lose jobs that's a setback, so there is an opportunity to grow jobs in the area and DMC represents an opportunity to put jobs into this economy," said Smith.

John wade says this loss of jobs may be a sign of how important DMC may be to the Rochester Community.

"We want to have DMC realized because that is just so important, and things can happen at any time so to have a plan in place is great for the community," said Wade.

There is no exact estimate on how many workers this will affect, but the early estimates are well over 200. The manufacturing move will begin later this year and should be done by the end of 2014.