Mayor talking to Apple to protect jobs at Mesa sapphire plant

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

MESA, Ariz. -- Hundreds of high-tech jobs appear to be on the line at the Apple sapphire glass supplier, however, the mayor of Mesa remains confident the company will continue its commitment to the community.

"Even a company like Apple wouldn't walk away from a half-billion dollar investment," says Mayor John Giles.

Apple currently owns the Mesa building occupied by GT Advanced Technologies. The technology giant also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements and upgrades to the facility.

Giles says he spoke on the phone with Apple executives yesterday, and he remains optimistic based on what they said.

"They’ve indicated that they remain committed to the city of Mesa and remain committed to the great facility that they’re occupying right now," Giles says.

GT Advanced Technologies and Apple are duking it out in bankruptcy court.

The sapphire glass supplier was expected to employ 800 people at its Mesa facility once it was up and running. Giles estimates the company currently employs closer to 600 or 700.

The factory was touted as a job creator by city and state officials, bringing thousands of construction jobs to the East Valley.

In its bankruptcy filings, GT Advanced Technologies asked a judge for permission to wind down operations at the Mesa factory.

Giles says, to his knowledge, those layoffs have not begun yet, but he is communicating with Apple often.

"Certainly we’re very concerned about the folks who work there," Giles says. "Our hope is that this will not be a serious disruption in their employment and that this will continue to be a great place to work."

Calls placed to GT Advanced Technologies were not returned Wednesday.

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