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Task force ready for Quincy Compressor negotiations this week

Quincy Compressor
Posted: Jun. 9, 2014 10:18 am Updated: Jun. 30, 2014 11:44 am
Quincy Mayor, Kyle Moore

By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer

Top managers from Quincy Compressor will be in town Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with a local task force seeking to keep the Quincy factory from closing.

"We have come up with a competitive incentive package," Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore said Monday morning during a press conference at City Hall.

Moore declined to give details of the proposal, saying that would not be wise during the negotiating process.

"This is a process we don't want to take lightly. The consolidation process they're talking about might take a year, but the decision process could take a lot shorter time," Moore said.

The task force was assembled after Quincy Compressor officials announced May 28 that the company might close the Quincy factory, where 152 people work.

Quincy Compressor LLC President John Thompson said the company might consolidate all factory operations to Bay Minette, Ala., where about 150 people manufacture rotary screw air compressors. The Quincy site produces reciprocating air compressors.

Ross Miller, business representative for the Machinists Union Local 822, said he anticipates that Quincy Compressor is going to want wage concessions from its Quincy employees. He said workers earn around $17 to $18 an hour in Quincy, about 30 percent more than is earned in the Alabama factory.

"It's a tough time for the employees out there," Miller said.

Miller said the Machinists contract with Quincy Compressor will expire in about a year. He said the company had sought to outsource some operations, but could not find a more economical process than is offered through the factory.

Marcel Wagner Jr., president of the Great River Economic Development Foundation, said there has been a lot of behind-the-scenes work done since Quincy Compressor officials asked to negotiate.

"This is a business decision," Wagner said.

He believes the community has been a great place for the Quincy Compressor operation and people should avoid speculation that follows the "what have we done wrong" line of thinking.

Jacqui Bevelheimer of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said there are several tax incentives and training programs available for Quincy Compressor if the company chooses to seek them.

The task force is made up of officials from the city, GREDF, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Workforce Development Board, the International Machinists Union Local 822, state Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, and state Rep. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy.

The task force is considering a package of both local and state incentive options to keep the factory in town.

Quincy Compressor was launched in 1920 and is among the nation's leading manufacturers of reciprocating and rotary screw compressors and fluid cylinder products.

Quincy Compressor began exporting its products overseas in 2004.

European-based Atlas Copco Group bought Quincy Compressor in 2010 from EnPro Industries for $190 million in cash. Atlas Copco is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and is one of the world's premier air compressor manufacturers.

-- dwilson@whig.com/221-3372

Ross Miller, business representative for the Machinists Union Local 822