Cardone to move 1,300 Phila jobs, brake plant to Mexico; HQ, electronics to stay

Cardone, the Philadelphia auto-parts rebuilder which calls itself the city's largest remaining manufacturing company, will shift 1,336 workers from its brake caliper plants at 5501 Whitaker Ave. and 5670 Rising Sun Ave. to a plant in Matamoros, Mexico, just south of Cardone's warehouses in Brownsville, Texas over the next two years.

The company, which has been shifting production from Northeast Philly to the lower-wage Texas-Mexico border region for years, told the Pennsylvania Department of Labor last month about the layoff plan. Workers are being let go "at a rate of about 10 to 20 a month this year, and 20 to 30 a month from the later part of 2017 into 2018," before the shutdown, Kevin Feeley, a spokesman for the company, told me. "This is not going to happen tomorrow."

About 1,000 workers in Cardone's headquarters office and electronics division will remain in Philadelphia, down from around 4,000 in the early 2000s. Feeley said the company was moving the brake work to Mexico because the "entry level" manufacturing work is "particularly sensitive" to cheap foreign competition.

Cardone is working with Philadelphia Community College and local officials to try to find jobs for the workers, Feeley added. The company has invested $12 million into its local facilities, including its electronics shop, in recent years, and plans "to grow a significant number of high-tech jobs," though fewer than the jobs going away, he added. Pennsylvania January layoff notices here.

As Phillymag.com's Jared Shelly notes here, Donald Trump recently cited Cardone and claimed he will somehow stop this kind of thing if we make him President. Back in 2011, Cardone insisted it was "committed to Philadelphia. We're committed to staying here, and we're committed to job retention," spokesman George Zauflik told me.  CORRECTION: Feeley tells me workers at Cardone are represented by the Service Employees' International Union. I wrongly noted in the earlier version of this story that the company remained non-union. 

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