WURTLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Sun Chemical has decided to permanently close its Performance Pigments plant in Wurtland, Ky.
Workers at the plant were notified of the immediate closing on Monday.
Lynn Campbell, a spokesperson for Sun Chemical, tells WSAZ.com that the closing impacts roughly 30 people.
Campbell blames the global economy on the closing. She said it is no longer cost effective to produce blue crude pigments at the plant, and that the closing was in the best interest of the company. Campbell also added it was hard decision for the company.
Blue crude pigments are used in printing inks.
Three days before Christmas in 2011, the company announced it was laying off 20 union workers due to extra inventory in the warehouse.
In June 2009, the plant temporarily suspended operations and furloughed workers for a number of weeks to adjust inventory.
In November 2008, WSAZ.com reported that the company was laying off 15 of its 36 workers due to overseas competition.
Union workers were told in a meeting there is extra inventory, the warehouse is full, and they need to be out by 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Martin Wellman, Sun Chemical employee for almost 21 years says, he can't believe the company would do this around the holidays.
"At this time of year, to lay off at Christmas time, that's a poor time to do it," Wellman says. "I don't understand it."
Union workers say the shut down is indefinite and there is no time table when it will reopen.
Jerry Cook, Sun Chemical employee, says the layoffs come as a surprise.
"It's Christmas time and they didn't give us any notice about this at all," Cook says. "It's very frustrating."
WSAZ talked to the corporate office on Thursday and they say they reached out the the union, but heard no response. However, union members say that is not true.
According to a news release, the pigment plant is suspending operations to adjust inventory.
The plant’s 19 employees will be furloughed until the plant reopens. That's expected to happen in the third quarter (July, August, September) of this year.
The company says as inventory requirements change, workers will be brought back as needed.
Back in November, WSAZ.com reported that the company was laying off 15 of its 36 workers.
Managers said that overseas competition was forcing those layoffs.
The workers were expected to be brought back in January.
No word if that happened.
It’s setting up some nervous and unhappy holidays for at least a few dozen more local families. One of the strengths of our region has been the stability of small industries taking root and providing jobs and tax base. But the growing challenge of competing in a global economy is creating local job loss, hopefully temporary.
Their corporate marketing manager says Sun Chemical PCI in Wurtland will soon layoff 15 of it’s 36 person work force.
The Wurtland plant makes crude blue pigment used to color ink. Managers say overseas competition is forcing the November 20th layoffs.
They say they expect to bring most of the workers back in mid-January. The company says laying off about half it's employees through the holidays is critical in preventing a plant shutdown.
Just down the street, Wurtland's mayor says the Pregis company is laying off 16 of it’s about 90 workers.
Pregis makes foam packaging material used by furniture companies and for concrete casing.
The mayor says the indefinite layoffs are due to a lack of business. One Pregis employee told WSAZ there will likely be more layoffs.
The mayor says small cities like Wurtland count on local factories for infrastructure income, and she fears the worst is yet to come.
The state of Kentucky has already spent millions building a industrial connector from US 23 to I-64.
Locals on both ends and all around are hoping other small companies along the corridor keep their people working.
There are plenty of cities throughout the area with industrial parks, connecting highways and companies like Wurtland's.
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