In 2003 NPG boasted $1.5 billion in sales, a headcount of 4,000, and a payroll of $5 million a week. Then in 2007 NPG recorded a loss of $117 million. The next year the New York State Department of Labor noted in a report about the state’s labor force that “Weakening demand for 4-wheel drive vehicles and increased competition in the automotive industry adversely impacted New Process Gear.”
As the OEMs struggled NPG flailed along with them. Chrysler‘s revenue dropped from $62 billion in 2006 to $17 billion in 2009. General Motors fell from $207 billion in 2006 to $104 billion in 2009. Ford‘s revenue declined from $172 billion in 2007 to $128 billion in 2010. As demand fell for Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors vehicles, Magna International tried to reach out to serve other OEMs, but the effort proved unsuccessful.
In February 2009 Magna announced that the NPG plant would be closed after workers voted against a contract that would have lowered wages or closed the plant if it could not break even by July of 2009. Employees against the contract said it might have locked them in at lower unemployment compensation if the plant did close.
Now about 370 are left at the plant. At the end of the second shift on Thursday, they will preside over the shutdown of the plant’s last two assembly lines. The last products to roll out of the facility, which began operating when Benjamin Harrison was elected president and the US had 38 states, will be a transfer case and manual transmission. Once the pair of assembly lines are halted, about 30 workers will stay at the dark plant to put the finishing touches on the shutdown.
Syracuse Post-Standard writer Charley Hannagan wondered in an article about the plant’s closing if some kind of ceremony might observe the processing of the last products. United Auto Workers Local 2149 President and New Process Gear plant engineer Jim Dagnesi told him, “People aren’t celebrating this. It’s sad.”