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Fisher-Price has informed 17 assembly workers at its East Aurora plant that their jobs will be eliminated Jan. 2, a company spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

The announcement, however, wasn't a surprise for the affected workers because they have known for 10 months that the East Aurora factory would eventually shut down, said Ellen Duggan, a Fisher-Price spokeswoman.

In February, when company executives announced they would close the East Aurora plant by the end of 1990, they asked for employee volunteers to stay on to help mothball the factory, she explained.

About 40 people out of a work force of 450 have been dismantling the assembly lines that have produced Little People playsets and other toys for 60 years. Some employees made a limited-edition toy, while others transported equipment and inventory to Fisher-Price's remaining plants.

"They were finishing off the last bit of work before we close the plant down," Ms. Duggan said. The vast majority of the people, who worked at the factory on Girard Street, left their jobs in May and July.

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