Saint-Gobain ‘has every intention’ of recalling 50-plus employees affected by recent layoffs

BUCKHANNON – A local manufacturing company is in the process of laying off more than 50 employees, it notified the City of Buckhannon last week.

Saint-Gobain SEFPRO, also known as Corhart Refractories, sent a letter to Mayor David McCauley Friday, Jan. 10 saying the plant planned to lay off 53 employees.

In a letter to city officials sent in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, plant manager Benjamin Watkins said the layoffs won’t be permanent but noted the company was unable to specify a duration.

“The layoffs are not expected to be permanent; however, the duration is indeterminate at this time,” Watkins wrote. “The information provided in this notice is based on the best information presently available to the company.”

The 53 affected employees are represented by a union, the letter indicates.

The notice – which said the earliest of the layoffs began Jan. 6, 2020 – was included in council’s Jan. 16 meeting packet, which is distributed to media outlets.

“Plant seniority will prevail provided employees are qualified to perform the work required or have seniority to hold them in a … Step 12 job,” Watkins wrote in the Jan. 10 letter.

A company representative said Friday Saint-Gobain intends to recall the employees when possible.

“We are constantly evaluating business and market conditions when reviewing employment at our facilities,” Lauren Howe, senior manager of philanthropy, community engagement and crisis communications, wrote in an email to My Buckhannon Friday afternoon. “We have every intention of recalling these individuals when business conditions allow and are supporting employees and their families during this time. We’re working closely with union leadership on next steps.”

Located at 87 Corhart Road, Saint-Gobain manufactures building materials, ceramics and plastics.

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