Lyndonville plant closure could be an economic blow for the NEK - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Lyndonville plant closure could be an economic blow for the NEK

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A big employer in the Northeast Kingdom could soon be closing its doors. The Kennametal plant in Lyndonville provides jobs for many in the Northeast Kingdom and we're told the corporation may be looking to close down the plant in order to save some cash.

Chad Tibbetts has worked at the Kennametal plant for 20 years, but now his job may be on the line.

"You can't do much. The attitude is you know you don't know how you're going to feel from day to day or minute from minute. I'm up and down all the time," said Tibbetts.

The steel plant hasn't always been Kennametal. The facility has changed hands multiple times since it opened in the 1930s, but one thing has remained the same.

"It's very vital, very, very important. And has been for literally decades," David Dill said.

Dill is an active member of the Lyndonville community and now sits on the select board. He says Kennametal's corporate leaders have been close-lipped about a proposal to close the Lyndonville plant, which manufactures high speed taps.

Nearly 100 people work here and Dill says those workers and the town are being kept in the dark.

"If the corporation were to invite us in to talk about this, we'd jump at the chance," said Dill. 

Reporter Shelby Cashman: What would you ask them?

David Dill: Can you give us some insight on the problems? Why are you leaving? Is it the typical anti-Vermont business climate kinds of things or is it something else? In other words, what can we do locally to make you change your mind?

Kennametal denied our request for an on-camera interview but did issue a statement saying that closing the Lyndonville plant would save the company $2.2 million annually.

The state labor department says the Northeast Kingdom has the highest unemployment rate in the state and any big job losses will have a significant economic blow.

Kennametal is one of the largest and highest paying employers in the region. 

"Employment is tough, as you know, particularly in the Northeast Kingdom, and we're dealing with kind of a harsh business environment right now and so that's not helpful," said Dill.

For people like Tibbetts, who have a number of work years left, the closure is most concerning.

"A compatible job around here is not quite non-existent, but it's really going to be quite hard you know with the health care. We have to look, you know, after paying for that, you know a feasible wage to afford the health care too," said Tibbetts.

Employees say another indication that the doors could be closing is increased security at the plant. Sources say Kennametal will reach a final decision by the end of this month.

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Lyndonville manufacturer may close

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