Continental Structural Plastics
(CSP) announced May 31, the temporary, planned layoff of 164 manufacturing associates at the Huntington Plant as the facility grows. The temporary layoffs, planned to begin July 31, are associated with a $33.5 million expansion at the plant, which creates 130,000 square feet of new manufacturing space and better organizes the manufacturing and materials handling activities in their existing 200,000 square feet. The company will be moving manufacturing equipment within the building, disrupting the manufacturing process while the remodeling occurs while simultaneously installing new equipment in the new space added to the building.
On a related note effecting the temporary layoffs, a major automotive customer of CSP is doing precisely the same improvements to their plant in a coordinated way.
Company officials have assured community leaders no customer contracts have been changed and that the plant anticipates returning to full capacity during the 4th quarter of 2017. Company officials also assure the community there are no plans to change the status of the new jobs promised for 2018 as a result of the expansion.
"The WARN notice
issued by the Company, which stirred media attention, is understandably, but to some extent unfortunately, vague," said Mark Wickersham, executive director for the Huntington County Economic Development Corporation. "Vendor contract details as well as the details of corporate strategies are pretty heavily regulated. Also the federal WARN notice process is not conducive to disseminating specific information which would have helped clarify the circumstances of the planned, temporary layoffs," Wickersham added. "CSP is a wonderful corporate citizen in Huntington and their local staff have done everything they can locally to assure us the temporary layoffs are a simple matter of accommodating manufacturing improvements at the building which are associated with the expansion and similar activities being conducted by an OEM," Wickersham said.
Historically, the automotive industry is well known for temporary plant slow-downs to accommodate new tooling and manufacturing process changes routinely associated with model year redesigns. The industry also is effected routinely by the year end inventory process and other adjustments to the manufacturing cycle, which occasionally result in temporary disruptions in the workforce.
"To some extent, the situation with CSP is not unlike a homeowner doing a major remodeling project at their home. There are inconveniences while construction is taking place, but the finished project is a major improvement and worth it in the end. The jobs picture in Huntington continues to be strong and our Community has numerous projects currently underway which will continue to add to the quality of life in our Community," Wickersham concluded.