COUPLED PRODUCTS: Ownership douses picket-line rumors

COLUMBIA CITY — With the announcement of new ownership for Coupled Products LLC, Columbia City, questions have been raised as to the changes President Jonathan Drew and Director of Operations Tina Johnson might implement.More than five years after a split from the then-bankrupt Dana Corporation, Coupled Products LLC was sold to Michigan-based TJD Industries. The manufacturing company makes fluid routing products for the automotive industry.Claims were made that the company’s financial strife continued after being bought from Dana Corporation. But Drew said those reports are not accurate.“During the economic recession over the last few years, we have focused intensely both on streamlining operations and managing costs,” Drew said.This plan of attack has given what Drew believes the slant needed in business to compete against lower-cost competitors.Johnson and Drew have both been involved with Coupled Products, as well as the tube and hose business for approximately 20 years. After The Post & Mail printed an article in its Jan. 14 issue, a former employee called to share her perspective on the company. She sighted questionable working conditions and lax safety practices. Wanting to remain anonymous, she shared her involvement in the strike which now extends to almost 20 months.Drew declared the accusation as false.“Coupled Products treats the safety of our employees as a non-negotiable item, and we address immediately any issue or potential risk identified,” Drew said. “We also maintain a regular schedule of OSHA visits to ensure full statutory compliance. Our commitment to safety will not decrease because of the ownership change.”But it was the quality of the product that really ruffled the feathers of the former worker. Drew combated that statement by arguing the company maintains the same “high standard” as it always has.For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Jan. 31 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.