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Worker on last days at Frameworks

ANTRIM — A former Frameworks employee says the High Street inspector of automotive lighting is down to about three employees, with the rest having retired or found other work, since the company is expected to close April 30. But Frameworks officials have yet to confirm the report.

Frameworks has maintained a contract with Osram Sylvania in Hillsborough since it opened in Antrim in 1999, with the primary function Frameworks being to inspect automotive lights made by Osram. Those lights are then are shipped and distributed throughout the U.S.

The contract between the two companies will expire April 30, wrote Anne Guertin, head of Osram Sylvania’s media relations in the Americas , in an email to the Ledger-Transcript on Tuesday. Messages left for Frameworks leaders seeking comment and confirmation were not returned by press time Wednesday. Established in Hillsborough in 1977, the company is owned by Leslie and Paul Belliveau.

In January, Frameworks officials said they had 23 employees; former Frameworks employee Colton Spaulding of Bennington said he knew of just three who are still working for Frameworks. In July 2013, Frameworks employed roughly 70 people, according to a report issued by the Economic & Labor Market Information Bureau.

The Frameworks building and property are on the market for $1.8 million, according to an online real estate listing. According to the listing, the building, built in 1999, is 47,470 square feet; and the property is 4.66 acres and includes parking for 120 vehicles.

Spaulding said in an interview Tuesday that he does not know why the companies have decided to not renew the contract, only that he was told the building operator of Frameworks and the manager at Osram in charge of the directional, automotive lights could not reach an agreement. Failure to reach an agreement led to the decision to let the contract expire.

He first learned about the expiring contract the week before Thanksgiving 2013 . “We were not really ever given a reason, just that contract was ending and happy holidays,” Spaulding said. “Morale slowly dropped.”

By the second week of December 2013, Spaulding said his facility manager told everybody that they had guaranteed openings at the Osram facility in Hillsborough. After the holidays, Frameworks started talking with Osram about jobs for their employees. In the end, eight former Frameworks employees got jobs in Hillsborough. The only three employees still working at Frameworks are the manager, a man who drives the equipment trucks transporting lights from Osram and Frameworks and another employee helping wrap up operations, Spaulding said.

Some former employees decided to retire, and Spaulding said a couple others found work in other fields and another quit . A friend of his, Joe Ortega of Francestown, also got a job at the Osram facility in Hillsborough.

Spaulding said that half of the lighting inspection work previously conducted at Frameworks will now take place at Osram. The other half will take place at a packaging facility in Corbin, Ky.

Spaulding worked for Frameworks for three and a half years and said that by the end of that time he felt as though the employees there were like one big family. “Just a giant family and we all slowly faded away from each other because we are all losing our jobs,” he said. Spaulding was one of the last employees to leave Frameworks, and said that watching the warehouse empty out and the building become vacant was a little heartbreaking. “By my last day, I was just looking around.... I’ve seen this place go through a lot.”

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