Carrier Corp. will close its Tennessee heating and air conditioning plant by the end of the year, effectively cutting 2,000 jobs. After closing the doors on its Lewisburg, Tenn. plant, home of its International Comfort Products Division and the largest private employer in Lewisburg, Carrier will continue production of residential central air conditioners and heat pumps in Collierville, Tenn. The production of its furnaces will be moved to Indianapolis.

"We are looking to consolidate to gain efficiency," said Jon Shaw, manager of corporate communications at Carrier. "Lewisburg has a great workforce, so this isn't a reflection of their work. It's really an infrastructure issue."

While production of the products is being moved, the relocated lines will continue to don the ICP brand names. "While we are relocating the production, ICP will continue to be marketed and sold," said Shaw.

According to Carrier, some of the laid off workers may be offered jobs at the other factories. Company officials and union representatives are meeting and discussing the effects of the massive layoffs. Those who lose their jobs will be eligible for free tuition, books and fees for four years of college under the United Technologies Employee Scholar Program, the company said. About 230 employees who work for ICP's customer service, distribution, marketing, sales, field technical services and staff functions will remain in Lewisburg.

Carrier also expects 200 to 300 of the laid off employees to accept relocation offers to its other facilities.