Murakami cuts 28 jobs

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'Taylor County is not immune to what is going on all over the country'

By James Roberts

In another sign of the nationwide economic slump, one of Taylor County's largest manufacturers has let go more than two dozen employees.

Citing a drop in automotive sales, Murakami Manufacturing USA has laid off 28 employees. The company produces rearview mirrors for automotive manufacturers.

According to a MMUS press release issued Friday morning, "The economy as a whole has created significant challenges for the automotive industry. As a result, we have had to make a difficult decision within our company to ensure the future success of MMUS."

Murakami officials met with employees Thursday to announce the downsizing.

Sam Polk, MMUS human resources manager, said the job cuts are a result of restructuring the operation so that it may continue to meet customer needs. Polk said the cuts came from within production teams.

Team Taylor County Executive Director Ron McMahan said the announcement shows that Taylor County is also being hit by the economic hardship being felt throughout the United States.

"Taylor County is not immune to what is going on all over the country."

In June 2000, Japanese company Murakami announced that its first U.S. facility would be located in Campbellsville in a 55,000-square-foot facility on Water Tower Bypass.

In May 2001, production began with 15 employees and one customer.

Since then, the company has expanded its facility to 70,000 square feet and more than 200 employees. The company now produces products for Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai and Honda. It has been named the Campbellsville/Taylor County Chamber of Commerce Manufacturing Business of the Year twice.

Founded as an ornamental metal company in Japan in 1882, Murakami began supplying automotive mirrors to Toyota in 1958. By 1979, it supplied all of Japan's major automakers.

In the 1990s, Murakami decided to open a U.S. plant. Murakami looked at 30 sites before choosing Campbellsville. At the time, Murakami officials said labor supply, proximity to customers, the genial nature of the community and the international exposure that Campbellsville University provided helped seal the deal.

- Staff Writer James Roberts can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 226 or by e-mail at writer@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.