Huber hit by layoffs

16 years ago
By Scott Mitchell Johnson
Staff Writer

    EASTON – Twenty-three employees at the Huber Engineered Woods, LLC (HEW) plant in Easton have been laid off.
    According to Robert Currie, vice president, chief communications and public affairs officer for the J.M. Huber Corp., the layoffs were necessary due to a slumping economy.     “Because of a number of economic factors, we have unfortunately had to lay off 23 of our employees at the HEW plant in Easton,” said Currie. “The layoffs, while unfortunate, will allow the plant to continue operations, saving 112 jobs. The housing market decline – in tandem with the credit crisis – has directly impacted HEW sales, which continue to lag behind historical performance.
    “This move is in no way a reflection on the work that was performed by the terrific people we will be losing,” he said. “Our company considers layoffs a last resort, and we are saddened by the fact that this was necessary.”
    HEW has been part of Easton since 1981 and their facility had employed approximately 130 workers. The mill manufactures specialty-building products including engineered structural panels, an “economical and environmentally friendly substitute for plywood,” according to company officials.
    The Easton facility is focused on making AdvanTech® Flooring and Sheathing, as well as the new ZIP System® Wall Sheathing and ZIP System™ Roof Sheathing products from Huber Engineered Woods.
    Currie said the layoffs were announced Thursday, April 10.
    “There’s been no timetable attached to the layoffs,” he said. “The timetable is completely out of our control; it’s all attached to the housing crisis and the credit crunch.
    “The good news is that while many plants are shutting down entirely,” said Currie, “we’re taking all efforts we can to keep the plants running and keep as many people as possible on board. Shutting down completely is not something that we would want to consider right now.”
    Huber Engineered Woods LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of J.M. Huber Corp., a diversified, multinational supplier of engineered materials, natural resources and technology-based services to markets ranging from paper and energy to construction.
    Huber Engineered Woods LLC is an innovative panel and lumber solution provider for the North American housing market with manufacturing operations in Maine, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee and Oklahoma. It manufactures specialty engineered panels and wood products that are used in residential applications such as floors, walls and roofs. Huber Engineered Woods LLC also serves industrial markets with products for door manufacturers and the transportation industry.
    Easton Town Manager Jackie Bradley said she has not spoken with Huber officials and was unaware how many Easton residents have been laid off.
    “Hopefully the economy will turn around,” she said, “and the layoffs won’t last long. It’s awful to lose your job.”