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Burton to move manufacturing out of Vt - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burton to move manufacturing out of Vt

South Burlington, Vermont - March 16, 2010

Burton Snowboards are known by many as a Vermont staple, but Tuesday the company announced that it will no longer manufacture those snowboards here in the state and will instead move production-- and jobs-- overseas. Burton said it plans to close its manufacturing center in South Burlington and move its research and development team to its headquarters in Burlington.

Forty-three jobs are at stake as Burton moves all of its snowboard manufacturing and production overseas to Austria, where the company already operates a manufacturing facility.

Company founder Jake Burton Carpenter issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying: " ...simply put, it costs us significantly more to produce a board in Vermont than we are capable of selling it for, and sadly, this is not sustainable in the current economy."

State Commerce Commissioner Tayt Brooks says this outsourcing move is a reminder of how tough it is to operate a business in Vermont.

"I hope it serves as a wake-up call to the Legislature that continued work this session needs to move forward. I mean we have bills that are still surfacing through the Legislature here, mandating paid sick leave. I mean bills such as that really send a wrong message to businesses out there in the state," Brooks said.

Despite the move, Burton says it plans to continue its home grown product design and development operations in Burlington. Burton employs about 650 people in the U.S. and about 400 in Vermont.

These are not the first cut backs at Burton. Last Spring the company laid off 5 percent of its North American work force and top employees took pay cuts. And just last month about 15 people were let go. Now, another 43 employees are losing their jobs. They'll have to find other positions in manufacturing that are clearly hard to come by in the Green Mountain State.

Burton says it is working with the Vermont Department of Labor's Rapid Response program to assist those employees that will be laid off in June with unemployment resources.

Burton is the world leader in snowboarding gear. Business publications estimate annual sales of $200-300 million.

Melinda Davenport - WCAX News

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