GE Appliances confirms closing date for refrigerator plant

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GE Appliances, which announced in June that it planned to close its Bloomington plant, has finalized the closure date.

The closure will put 329 people out of work.

The company on Thursday confirmed the plant would close Aug. 26, the Herald-Times reported. GE said it will stop producing refrigerators at the plant on Aug. 25.

Most of the plant's employees will receive 90 percent of their base wage and benefits until June 15, 2017, under a benefits package negotiated by the employees' union. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2249 president Bill Fairbairn called the package "unprecedented."

General Electric Co. announced June 6 that it had completed the sale of GE Appliances to Haier Group of China for $5.6 billion, which includes an approximate $200 million increase from the originally announced sale price to account for increased working capital in the business.

GE almost sold the appliances business to Swedish company Electrolux last year, but scrapped the $3.3 billion plan in December. The deal was opposed by U.S. regulators over concerns about competition.

GE has been making refrigerators in Bloomington since 1967. The plant was once considered the world's largest refrigerator facility.

It employed as many as 3,400 workers in the 1990s, but the company moved about 1,400 jobs to Mexico in 1999. The plant received tax credits when the plant was threatened with closure in 2008.

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