September 10, 2018 In The News, Media

Old car parts mean new job opportunities for Camden

Cherry Hill Courier-Post
September 10, 2018

The cars looked banged up: busted fenders and dented quarter panels, missing windshields and doors that had obviously absorbed impact.

But what was inside was salvageable, and that’s where Ladeen Hornsby came in.

The lifelong Camden resident is part of a disassembly line — dismantling used, damaged and discarded autos and stripping them of whatever parts are still functional, all for resale to national retailers like Pep Boys, NAPA Auto Parts and AutoZone.

Hornsby, who lives in Parkside, would love to see more city residents working the line with him.

And if EMR Eastern LLC CEO Joe Balzano Jr. has his way, that will soon be the case: He’s looking to hire as many as 275 new employees for his plant in South Camden — from low-skilled laborers and apprentice mechanics to higher-skilled positions like electricians, IT and web developers, disassemblers and experienced mechanics.

Many of the jobs come with Teamsters’ union wages and benefits, including fully paid family health care plans, pensions and 401(k) plans.

 Broderick White, who operates a front-end loader, has worked at the plant for nearly a year. He was hired permanently after being referred to EMR by a temp service and said the job means something very simple for him and his family.

“It means survival,” the Lawnside man said. “It means being able to provide for my wife and grandkids.” The 47-year-old said the benefits will keep him with EMR for the long-term — especially the pension that will grant him security in his retirement.

“Twenty years,” he said with a wide smile.

Hornsby explained that each car is rolled into the plant, its pieces dismantled one by one, with small parts like brake components and wheels coming off first and larger pieces, like engines and transmissions, going last. Each team has about 7 minutes, he added, before the car is moved to the next station in the process.

The parts are sorted by quality control workers, and then cleaned and prepped for recycling.

He works at the end of the line, on the largest components.

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