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71-Year-Old GE Lighting Factory to Close Friday

It once employed as many as 1,800 people.

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MATTOON, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois General Electric Lighting plant that once employed as many as 1,800 people is closing this week.

The Mattoon Journal-Gazette reports that the 71-year-old factory will permanently close at the end of the day Friday. GE Lighting spokeswoman Alicia Gauer says 133 employees remain on the job at the plant. She says 36 of them will remain for various lengths of time to clean, disconnect equipment and prepare the plant for possible future use. Gauer says GE expects that to take three to four months.

GE Lighting previously has said it closed the plant because it was operating at 60 percent below capacity and "volume was down dramatically."

GE says 38 percent of Mattoon workers are eligible for retirement benefits. The rest will receive severance pay, retraining and other benefits.

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