By Bill Fortier/ TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
Workers for two area manufacturing companies told U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal yesterday they are worried about how increased international competition will affect their companies.
The Springfield Democrat said he spent more than 90 minutes at Guardian Industries in Webster and two hours at FLEXcon Inc. in Spencer talking to company officials and workers about the economy and how it is affecting their workplaces.
Guardian is a glassmaker that Mr. Neal says employs about 19,000 people worldwide and about 75 people at its Cudworth Road facility.
FLEXcon is a maker of pressure-sensitive film products that Mr. Neal said employs about 900 people at its facility on Route 9 in Spencer.
“Visits like today give me an opportunity to meet with employees and management and converse with them about some of the challenges they see coming their way in the future,” said Mr. Neal, who represents the 2nd Congressional District.
While acknowledging the economy remains sluggish, Mr. Neal said FLEXcon is seeing an uptick in its business.
“They’re feeling better about themselves,” he said.
Mr. Neal, who has been a member of Congress since 1989, said he is looking forward to the upcoming general election, when he will face off either against Northampton Republican Jay S. Fleitman or Hopedale Republican Thomas A. Wesley. They are squaring off in Tuesday’s primary.
“I’m always looking forward to that,” he said of the general election. “I’ve always believed that campaigns are not won or lost in election years.”
The 2nd Congressional District extends from the Connecticut River Valley in the west to the Blackstone River Valley in the east.