New Venture Gear, also known as New Process Gear, was a large automobile parts manufacturing facility in Syracuse, New York. Established in 1886 as a leather tannery, New Venture Gear manufactured automotive transmissions and transfer cases as the automobile grew in popularity during the early 1900s. The Chrysler Corporation purchased the plant in 1955, and incorporated it into its vast operations up until 1990. The plant served a unique niche within Chrysler’s operations, and beginning in the 1970s, New Venture Gear also manufactured parts for a variety of auto manufacturers. By 1977, only twenty percent of its production went to Chrysler cars and trucks. Through a series of merged ventures and partnerships, followed by company restructuring, New Venture Gear was eventually purchased by Magna International, a large Canadian auto parts manufacturer. In March 2009, Magna announced that it would shut down the Syracuse plant, leaving 1,400 workers unemployed.
New Venture Gear was in the business of building driveline systems and component parts, including manual transmissions, manual transaxles, gears, transfer cases and other motor vehicle parts for GM and Chrysler. The production of these auto parts required intense heat to melt and, sometimes, harden the materials. Prior to federal regulations placed on asbestos in the early 1970s, asbestos was used to insulate sections of the New Venture Gear plant, including steam pipes, vestibule doors on carburizing furnaces and surface combustion furnaces. Asbestos was also used in gaskets, cement, packing and rope material.
Laborers who worked at New Venture Gear were constantly exposed to asbestos dust from working with and in the vicinity of individuals who repaired and maintained asbestos insulation on pipes, heat treat equipment and boilers. In the initial assembly and maintenance of this system, asbestos-containing gaskets and rope asbestos packing was widely used causing the airborne release of asbestos when the materials were cut during new installation or when they were removed by scraping, grinding or wire brushing.
Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC, represents former workers and retirees, as well as their families, from the former New Venture Gear/New Process Gear plant in Syracuse, New York. In the process of representing these workers and their families the attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed. If you or a loved one were once employed at the New Venture Gear/New Process Gear plant, and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.