BAE Systems in Sealy to shut down by next June


All around the city of Sealy right now, the big buzz is the expected closing of BAE Systems.

"Just today alone, I mean, it's the talk around town," said resident Cody Eberhardt.

Administrators at the plant, which produces military tactical vehicles, announced to its workforce early Tuesday morning that the company would be shutting down its operations center in Sealy by June 2014.

Resident Leroy Zapalac said, "It's been a slow progression and you know, it doesn't surprise me one bit."

Some community members say they feared the facility's closure was inevitable. At its high point, BAE Systems employed about 3,000 workers at its Sealy plant. And with major staff reductions over the past two years, the plant's director of operations says only 325 workers remain here now, and allegedly saw the closure coming.

"For us, it's a sorry day," said John Machisak with BAE Systems. "The decreasing defense spending and the rationalization within our business base has necessitated consolidation of manufacturing footprint, and we are one of the results of that."

As this plant prepares for ultimate closure, some community members can't help but think about their friends and neighbors who are now stuck wondering what to do next.

"Especially with Christmas and the holidays coming around, I mean, a layoff with people who have families and everything, it's a big thing," Eberhardt said. "A lot of families will be hurt from this."

Administrators say workers will be phased out in November and December, and that will continue through June when this site is expected to shut down for good.

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