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There's trouble afoot at the headquarters of Lionel Trains, the model train company that's co-owned by Neil Young. The company has announced that it might close its main plant in the Detroit suburb of Chesterfield, Michigan, and move its manufacturing operations to China--where labor is considerably cheaper--in order to save costs. Not surprisingly, the announcement is not going down well with the local work force of about 400, who are represented by the United Auto Workers. The union is urging supporters to contact the company to protest the proposed move by going to lionel.com and sending a message to the attention of Richard Maddox, Lionel president and chief operating officer. Young first became associated with Lionel in 1991, when he hooked up with the company for a joint venture called Liontech. The research and development company, which was formed the following year, makes a line of controls that allow handicapped people to operate model trains. Young got involved because his sons Zeke and Ben suffer from cerebral palsy. He bought a piece of the privately held company in 1995, folding Liontech into the main corporation. -- Gary Graff, Detroit (launch.com)
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