By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Federal Mogul plans to close its long-running plant in Winchester next year which could put more than 120 people out of work.
Federal Mogul representatives met with staff on Wednesday and informed them of the pending closure of the Winchester facility, Jim Burke, director of corporate communications for the firm, said by phone Friday.
The plant on South Pleasant Valley Road employs 125 people, according to Burke. The facility manufactures "friction" products for the firm, such as brake materials for motor vehicles.
Employees may have opportunities to take other jobs within the company but Burke said he didn't know how many would be available. Severance packages also would be given to workers not staying with the company, according to Burke.
"We'll certainly work to make employees aware of those opportunities and look for folks that have an interest in moving and have the right skill set for the right opportunities that exist," Burke said. "Those that don't have an opportunity to stay with the company will be provided transitional benefits to help assist them to pursue and seek employment elsewhere."
Employees learned that "due to excess manufacturing capacity within the company for our friction products ... that we are going to consolidate our friction production and move that work that is performed there to one of our other facilities," Burke said.
"We're operating more plants than we need to for the volume of the market and therefore we decided that the Winchester facility made the most sense for us to close," Burke said.
At one point the facility employed close to 1,000 people but Burke indicated the plant has not had that many workers for years.
"What's happening is there are a lot of friction manufacturers that are developing friction products in other parts of the world and, quite honestly, it's become more competitive than it has in the past, particularly in China and India and other countries that are now exporting to the U.S. whereas they hadn't in years past," Burke explained.
The plant in Winchester began operations in the 1940s, Burke said.
Federal Mogul informed employees that it also plans to close its facility in Michigan which produces blades for windshield wipers, according to Burke.