Most people realize how quickly things can change in the job market. However, until it hits you specifically, it is hard to understand all of the ramifications.That's what employees of I&K Distributors have been going through this past week.Rumors about the plant closing had been swirling since April 17 when Lipari Foods purchased the distribution facility. It took less than three weeks for the fears to become reality as Lipari formally announced it would be moving the distribution facility to Warren, Mich., by September.Lipari tried to say all the right words when it talked with the media Tuesday, issuing the obligatory comment about how it “was a difficult decision to make.” The company insisted it had nothing to do with the quality of work from its Delphos employees. Instead, it was strictly “a business decision” that saw the consolidation of warehouse operations in Ohio and Michigan as a better way to grow.The harsh realities of that decision go beyond the 124 people losing their jobs. It will touch much of the Delphos community.The workers being displaced are people who buy cars, furniture and appliances from local stores. They go to local restaurants as well as donating money to churches. They volunteer their services to local agencies.All of that will change.Some workers will find new jobs quickly. Others, however, could remain unemployed for a substantial length of time. Not surprisingly, the average wage in the new jobs most likely will be less than the original job. According to the Midwest Center for Labor Research, the average person loses 30 percent of their income during the first year following a plant closing, Meanwhile, the company will not be purchasing supplies and will not use local services. This decreased spending could result in layoffs in other businesses.One can only speculate how much the tumultuous behavior of former plant manager Robert Fishbein led to the plant being sold. Fishbein, 48, came to Delphos from the East Coast. He was sentenced to a maximum eight years in prison for harassment of a former female employee. She left the job at I&K and accepted a payout to not file a sexual harassment complaint against Fishbein. He, however, continued to make as many as 300 to 400 calls to her. He sat in jail for weeks, leaving the company without a plant manager, and was finally fired.Months later came Lipari's decision to buy and close I&K.Lipari said it was business, “strictly business.” I&K employees will tell you it's more like they just got the business.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.