RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) — A former Flex-N-Gate employee who lost her job a week ago said she was surprised by the announcement that her former company had purchased an auto factory in Rantoul.
In a statement sent to WCIA, Flex-N-Gate officials said Eagle Wings Industries will be rebranded as Flex-N-Gate Rantoul and will offer employment to Eagle Wings workers.
The former Flex-N-Gate Effingham worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said the move shocked her considering last week’s layoffs.
“It was a little surprising given the timing of everything,” she said. “I think once other operators and team leads hear about this news, they’ll probably feel the same.”
She said she is trying to get a part-time job because unemployment benefits aren’t enough to cover her monthly expenses.
“Unfortunately, a lot of us operators that are on unemployment during this layoff are making about less than half of our actual wages,” she said.
Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith said the move is something that will benefit the entire village.
“It’ll add more money and it will also add more buildings to the community,” Smith said. “It will also give people a new opportunity and it also gives Rantoul a fresh, new face in the community.
Smith said the acquisition will also mean expanding operations and bringing more production work to Rantoul.
Despite the struggle of making ends meet, the former Flex-N-Gate worker said she’s optimistic the new location means she can eventually return to work.
“I’ve never had supervisors and team leads show so much compassion for their teams as they do at Flex-N-Gate,” she said. “I just really hope that this is a positive sign for the company because at the end of the day, what I care about most is my team.”
Officials said the Flex-N-Gate transfer will be complete by the end of the year. WCIA asked a spokesperson if or when there will be any updates on laid-off Effingham employees; they said the company is hoping for a timely resolution.