Heather Black

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Video: Navistar Suspends Production Leaving Many Unemployed

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WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI)-Many are excited to see our troops return home from the front lines, but while that’s good for families and friends it also means less demand for armored vehicles.

Navistar Defense manufacturing plant has decided to suspend production at the West Point plant.

“It’s going to hurt them, just like all the other factories that left. It’s going to hurt them bad,” says Keith Kimbrough.

Navistar Defense informed employees Thursday that the company is suspending operations at its West Point plant.

“I was disappointed that we’re not making these trucks anymore. It’s been a great job I’ve been there for about three years now and I;m just really disappointed,” says Casey Holbrooks.

Navistar employee, Casey Holbrooks and his co-workers will be out of a job starting July 5th.

“Right now I think there are about 100 people employed and there is not 100 jobs sitting here waiting on us,” says Holbrooks.

According to a company spokesperson, the sequester and draw-down of operations in Afghanistan lead to the decision.

Holbrooks says with orders dwindling and rumors flying, Thursday’s news did *not* come as a surprise.

“We still have about 500 units on one of the contracts and they put a stop on it so we were really expecting something bad to happen. Just no work,” says Holbrooks.

“I worked on that plant back four and five years ago and really had great hope for them. So I think it’s a really bad deal,” says Gene Carson.

Clay county has had among the state’s highest unemployment rates over the last five years. West Point resident Keith Kimbrough has seen this sort of thing before.

“It’s a shame that West Point is losing all these jobs. It just seems like it’s one right after another. I don’t understand where all these people are going to work,” says Kimbrough.

Kimbrough remembers the day he was laid off from Bryan Foods after 31 years on the job.

“It was a shock it was a bad feeling I mean you know you go from having a good job to being on unemployment and don’t know where you’re going next,” says Kimbrough.

For now, workers can only hope that the idled plant will get moving again. In the meantime, some hardworking people will be looking for a job.

Navistar once employed up to 1000 people. It was a plant that made armored vehicles for military.