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CURRENT STORIES


Manufacturing woes continue in region

Another manufacturing facility has closed in Clarksburg, and this time it's Clarksburg Casket Co. It's just the latest in a long list of manufacturers that have chosen to leave or shutter their doors in Harrison County since the 1960s.

And at a certain point, you just have to shake your head and ask why.

Aurora Casket Co., which purchased Clarksburg Casket Co. in 2000, decided to close the business after what Aurora spokesman Dave Lane said was "an exhaustive analysis of business climates existing in Bristol and Hepzibah."

Seventy-one jobs were lost at the local facility, and operations will now continue at a manufacturing plant in Bristol, Tenn.

In August, the Aurora negotiating team left what Lane called "the company's final offer" for a union vote. And Lane claims that he does not believe the union ever voted on the offer.

While we will never know if the issue of a union vote was the final straw or not for Aurora, it really doesn't matter.

Other conditions threatened the local operation, including the woeful Workers' Compensation system in West Virginia, environmental operating issues and health care costs, according to Lane.

West Virginia has many things to offer manufacturing firms, such as a hard-working and industrious labor force and proximity to major markets in the Eastern United States and Midwest.

However, other flaws in our business climate do have to be fixed. Correcting workers' comp is a necessity, and becoming more friendly to business is vital if West Virginia wants to compete with states like Virginia and Tennessee.

Unions are a good thing for American labor, but if they don't have the ability to adjust to economic cycles, they will gradually become extinct. What position will our workers be in then, and who will be there to fight for them?

Patrick Martin