conducts first round of layoffs at local facilities
Vernay Laboratories last month laid off its first group of employees as
the initial step in the companys plan to close its two Dayton Street
According to Plant Manager Mike Maloy, 25 hourly workers were laid off
on Friday, Oct. 11. Most of the employees were production line workers
who had the least amount of seniority, in most cases less than five years,
In June, Vernay announced that it would close its Dayton Street plants
by the middle of next year, phasing out about 167 positions. The largest
plant will close in the middle of January. The other will stop production
Since the June announcement, 25 employees have left the company, many
through early retirement, said Vernay union representative Ralph Foster.
Following the initial round of layoffs, 126 hourly workers are still employed
in the plants, he said.
Vernay is shutting down its Yellow Springs production facilities for a
variety of reasons, including a shifting customer base, outmoded production
techniques at the local plants and the costs associated with an upcoming
environmental cleanup which will be supervised by the U.S. Environmental
The companys headquarters and research and development division,
which includes about 50 employees, will remain at Vernays South
College Street location for the foreseeable future, according to Vernay
president and CEO Tom Allen.
Vernay had originally scheduled the initial layoff to take place at the
end of September, but pushed the date back two weeks due to production
demands, according to Maloy. Fifteen more workers were scheduled to be
laid off last Friday, Nov. 1, but the layoffs were postponed until an
unspecified date, Foster said.
The layoffs are taking place later than originally scheduled due to the
complexities in the process of transferring production facilities from
Yellow Springs to the companys plants in Georgia and South Carolina,
We were concerned that our customers would suffer if the company
stuck to its original schedule, Maloy said. We want to continue
to serve our customers with quality products and timely delivery.
Overall, the whole schedule of layoffs has been moved back one or two
weeks, said Maloy, with the last layoffs having been moved from the end
of December to mid-January. The original plan called for layoffs to begin
late September and additional layoffs every two weeks, but that plan is
being reformulated, said Maloy. We will continue with
some sort of separation until the end of the year, he said.
Not knowing exactly when they will be laid off has heightened anxiety
among plant workers, Foster said.
Workers ask me every day, but I dont have the answers for
them, he said.
The lack of clear information has added to workers frustration and
dissatisfaction with management, according to one of the 25 employees
who recently lost their jobs.
People have a bad attitude toward management, said the employee
who asked not to be named. Management doesnt tell us anything.
We didnt know when it was coming.
Individual workers received word of their impending layoffs on Monday,
Oct. 7, four days before the layoffs actually took place, Maloy said.
The company is bound by union contract to give workers at least 72 hours
notice before they lose their jobs, Maloy said.
However, workers have known for months that a layoff was coming in October,
said Maloy, and that those who lost their jobs first would be those with
the least seniority.
Workers may collect 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, which amounts to
half a workers regular pay, with the possibility of a 13-week extension,
Foster said. Workers also have the option to continue receiving insurance
coverage for six months, with partial co-pay.
Hourly workers have had an opportunity to meet with both state and county
officials to discuss unemployment benefits and job-training possibilities,
However, Foster said, some workers say they arent able to take advantage
of training for a new job since they dont know exactly when their
current jobs end.
Theres a lot of frustration, he said.
Management also feels frustrated, and is doing its best to communicate
clearly, said Maloy.
I want to stress that were attempting to communicate as much
in advance as possible, he said. Its a very difficult
process for us and were working hard to try to make it go as smoothly
as possible for the hourly employees and the company overall.