plant will operate for 9 more months
Labs to initiate second round of layoffs
The second round of layoffs at Vernay Laboratories will take place next
week, according to company officials, who recently notified remaining
workers of specific layoff dates for the upcoming year.
The company has also revised its schedule and will close its largest plant
next September, nine months later than the original plan. The smaller
plant will remain open for the foreseeable future.
Company officials had originally said that Plant 3, the largest facility,
would close by the end of the year and that the smaller Plant 2 would
remain open until mid-2003.
The plant closings have been pushed back due to concern for production
quality, Plant Manager Mike Maloy said in an interview Tuesday.
We want to make sure our customers dont feel the effect of
an ill-timed move, Maloy said. Company officials are very
confident that the layoff dates will proceed as scheduled in the
revised plan, he said. As we proceed well monitor our progress
and if we need to make adjustments, we will, he said.
The company announced the layoff schedule to enable production workers
to make plans, said Maloy.
Vernay union representative Ralph Foster said workers have felt frustrated
with company management due to a lack of specific information about the
exact dates of layoffs.
We do realize peoples lives are affected and were trying
to be open with information, Maloy said.
The company announced in June that it would close its two Dayton Street
plants and transfer production facilities currently located there to the
companys plants in Georgia and South Carolina. Company officials
decided to close the plants for several reasons, including a shifting
customer base, outmoded production techniques at the local plants and
costs associated with an upcoming environmental cleanup.
The companys headquarters and research and development division,
which employ about 50 people and are located on South College Street,
will continue to be located in Yellow Springs for the foreseeable future,
Vernay officials have said.
Next Friday, Dec. 20, 15 production workers will be let go in the companys
second round of layoffs, according to Foster. The employees, who are all
hourly production workers, are the lowest in seniority, ranging from 7-
to 10-year employees. The layoff announcement came at the end of November,
The first layoff, which involved 25 production employees with the lowest
seniority, took place in October.
Currently, the plants employ 124 workers, Foster said. Between 25 and
30 employees have left the company since the June announcement to take
early employment, he said.
According to the companys revised schedule, 15 more workers will
be laid off on Jan. 17, 30 on Feb. 28, 15 on June 6 and 15 on Sept. 12,
at which point Plant 3 will close. The 35 workers remaining will work
in Plant 2, said Foster. Those workers may not necessarily be people who
currently work in Plant 2, but will be the employees with the most seniority,
he said. They will be retrained to handle Plant 2 work, he said.
Currently, company officials have no specific plans as to when Plant 2
will close, said Maloy.
There are no plans beyond continuous operation for Plant 2,
said Maloy. He added that the lack of plans for a closing doesnt
necessarily indicate that the plant will stay open, but that company officials
have been focusing on closing down Plant 3 instead.
Once we complete the shutdown of Plant 3 well re-evaluate
closing Plant 2, he said.
Although plant workers have known for months that they will lose their
jobs, finding out the specific lay-off dates has been difficult, said
You can hear about it all you want, but when you see your name on
the board, its a shock, he said.
The company held two meetings this fall during which state and county
officials discussed unemployment benefits and job training options, said
Foster. Workers may collect 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, which amounts
to half a workers regular pay, with the possibility of a 13-week
extension, said Foster. Employees also have the option to continue receiving
insurance coverage for six months, with partial co-pay.