Thomson Consumer Electronics, the largest maker of television sets in the United States, plans to close its only U.S. assembly plant and shift production to Mexico, slashing more than 1,500 jobs.
Thomson’s exit from the U.S. TV-making business is just the latest in an industry struggling to cut costs. Like Zenith, Mitsubishi and other electronics companies before it, Thomson cited fierce competition that has driven down prices of color TV sets, weakening profit margins at a time of lower-than-expected sales.
Thomson, a French-owned company that makes the RCA, GE and ProScan TV brands, will close its Bloomington, Ind., TV assembly factory, the world’s largest with 1,100 workers, in April 1998. An additional 420 jobs will be lost when it stops making plastic TV cabinets at an Indianapolis factory at the same time.
The company plans to move the Bloomington work to a new factory in Juarez, Mexico, where labor costs of about $2.10 an hour are a fraction of the $19 per hour in wages and benefits Thomson pays its workers in Bloomington and Indianapolis.
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