North Springfield manufacturer to close plant, layoff 80 workers
NORTH SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) - A North Springfield manufacturing business has announced it is closing and laying off dozens of workers.
It was very quiet at Jeld-Wen’s massive plant in North Springfield day Friday two days after it was announced that 90 employees were losing their jobs.
“It’s very sad. I feel very bad for the people involved,” said Pat Howard, a former Jeld-Wen employee.
Current employees at the plant got an abrupt notice Wednesday. Eighty people were being let go and an additional 8 to 10 were asked to stay on temporarily to help with the transition. The window and door company has two facilities in Vermont -- North Springfield and Ludlow -- but company officials said in an effort to “optimize its global operations,” they were consolidating to just one in Ludlow.
Howard worked in the Ludlow plant’s maintenance department for several years before retiring early due to health reasons. He says at least one former co-worker was not ready for this week’s announcement. “It was a surprise to her. She was one of them who were let go in the Ludlow plant snd I know she was a very dedicated worker,” he said.
“This is a very abrupt 180-degree move,” said Bob Flint, executive director for the Springfield Regional Development Corp. He helped facilitate Jeld-Wen’s 2007 move to North Springfield. “That was a major expansion for them at the time. The company has been doing well with the production facility.”
Flint says the focus now shifts to employees who are out of work. His office will be working with the Vermont Department of Labor’s rapid response team. “Every employer in the region is dying for people so I would hope that these people find a soft landing spot,” Flint said.
And while Howard feels for his friends who now find themselves without a job, he says the move is a sign of the times. “I know a lot of companies are going through the same situation as Jeld-Wen is and they are reorganizing to stay in business,” he said.
Company officials say affected employees will receive a competitive separation package which includes 60 days of pay and benefits. They say at this time there are no plans for further reductions in Vermont.
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