Trane cutting 140 workers in Lexington

Trane, one of Lexington's largest employers, plans to lay off 140 hourly workers effective Monday, according to the president of the union representing them.

The union was told of the company's plans in mid-December, said United Auto Workers Local 912 President Tom Coffey, who linked the decision to the recession.

Trane, which manufactures climate equipment, relies on the construction of new buildings for some sales, and "as the economy has turned down, naturally that slowed the number of new buildings," Coffey said.

"We're usually approximately nine months to a year behind everybody else, and it has finally caught up with us," he said.

A manager at the plant, whose voicemail indicated he was on vacation, and two corporate media relations employees did not return messages left Wednesday.

Coffey said he was optimistic, though, that the workers may be hired back.

"This is a slow time for us almost yearly, and I think it will all pick back up here before long," he said. "I think they will come back."

The cuts are made based on seniority, he said. Workers are not entitled to a severance unless the plant is closing, he added.

The plant employs around 1,300 people, including 850 hourly workers, Coffey said. It was the first set of permanent layoffs in some time, though the company has had voluntary layoffs in which people would take off two months at a time and then return, he said.

Trane's facility is located on Mercer Road close to New Circle Road near Georgetown Road.