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      Emerson closing Ithaca parts plant

      It has become an all-too-familiar story in Central New York. Another long-time manufacturer is closing - this time it is the Emerson plant in Ithaca.

      Its formal name these days is Emerson Industrial Automation, Power Transmission Solutions. The plant has been racked with layoffs in the past year. It produces parts used in automobile transmissions. Today company officials told the remaining 154 hourly and 74 salaried employees that it would phase out operations at the Ithaca factory in the next 12 to 14 months. It will shift operations to another North American facility.

      "This difficult decision is not a reflection on the quality of work being performed at the Ithaca plant. Everyone associated with the plant can be proud of the excellent work done at the plant over the years." said company spokesperson Emily Acquisto in a statement released to the news media. She said the decision to shutter the facility was a "business decision based on global economic and competitive pressures and the need to most efficiently operate to best meet the needs of our customers."

      One of those customers is the Magna International New Process Gear plant in DeWitt. Magna is shutting down the plant, saying its losing money. Workers there rejected proposals by the company for big wage and work rule concessions to keep the plant open. However, Acquisto wasn't sure if Magna's closing had anything to do with Emerson's decision.