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Capping an Era : Out of work: As the Stroh brewery closes, three laid-off employees share their plans and hopes for a more stable future. : Ken Hasan: 34-year-old electrician : Ken Hasan is familiar with layoffs. He moved to Los Angeles five years ago after losing his job at a steel mill in Indiana. Those kinds of things weren't supposed to happen in California. Already, Hasan has sent out a dozen resumes to find another electrician job.

February 22, 1990|MICHAEL ARKUSH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"We had plans. We finally got a house last year, and we're going to have kids. I'm making $18.50 an hour, which is good. I made about $42,000 last year. I started here almost two years ago. My one-year wedding anniversary is the day the plant closes down. This screwed everything up. My wife works on the check-out line at Alpha Beta. A good steady job, but the pay isn't enough. She was pregnant, but had a miscarriage. She would've been due in a couple of months, and in a way, the miscarriage was fortunate. It would've really been a lot to handle.

"It's not like I'm mad at the world or mad at Stroh's because they went out of business, even though I think it's their fault that they couldn't make a go of it. I'm just scared that I'm not going to get something before the house payment, which is $1,100 a month. I don't want to get in the hole. I was hoping I was going to retire with this job. It seemed like a steady job. This brewery's been here for years and years, and all of a sudden, they go out of business. That doesn't make much sense.

"Since we didn't have a house for investment purposes, with a big down payment, we used every penny we had and we had to go to Lancaster because that's the only place we could afford a house. If I don't get another job in about a month, things are going to get extremely tight. Something's not going to get paid. I'll get unemployment, and with my wife working, we might get the house payment, but we'll be hurting on other bills--truck payment, home improvement loan, credit cards, utilities, food. Just food, not too important.

"I've been nervous ever since I knew they were going to close the plant. I had an ulcer in Indiana when this thing happened before. I'm afraid I'll get another one. I'll have to hit everywhere I haven't hit yet with my resume and see what happens. Nobody's hiring, there isn't much turnover in good-paying electrician jobs. About 50 or 75% of the good electrical jobs are in the aerospace industry and in the military, and they're talking about cutting back.

"Basically, as an electrician, you're trouble-shooting. When a piece of machinery doesn't work, they call you. It's complicated equipment that is always breaking down. And you got people screaming at you to have that line running. That was the scariest part of this job when I first took it. I wasn't used to the pressure of getting it running immediately, people screaming at you. You're so nervous, it's hard to think. I'll tell you, my heart isn't in the job now. If something breaks down, it doesn't bother me that much. I'm not going to be in a hurry to get it going. They're going out of business, so who cares?"

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