Gaston Co. workers forced to take 4 days off without pay

Gaston Co. workers forced to take 4 days off without pay

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by Associated Press and WCNC.com Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 8 at 6:22 PM

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- About 2,600 people in Gaston County will have to take a week off work starting Monday without pay.

Freightliner is forcing workers in Mount Holly to take the time off because demand for the trucks they build dropped by half in just two months.

Some workers have already taken four furlough days in the past few months.

"In response to an industry-wide slowdown in truck orders DTNA has taken action to adjust the production schedule at the Mt. Holly Freightliner plant to include a limited number of shutdown days. No layoffs are associated with this action," said Daimler Trucks North America COO Roger Nielsen in a statement.

"We hope they open soon," said one Mount Holly resident concerned about this week's news.

NBC Charlotte is told a few hundred workers remain on the job, mainly on first shift. 

"It’s sort of laid back compared to the usual daily hussle and bussle everyday," said Clarence Witworth, who works in material handling at the plant and serves as a union representative.

Whitworth says he believes the instability of the presidential race is making his industry unstable.  Just months ago, President Obama appeared at plant, celebrating its recent spike in hiring to help fill orders for fuel-efficient trucks.

"I think a lot of it is going to pick up after the election," he said.

Whitworth said many of his co-workers have been furloughed in the past year and are therefore able to claim unemployment during this week's furlough.

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