Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 11, 2012

Sign of the times

Job layoffs at Special Metals could have been much worse


The Independent

ASHLAND — The best thing that can be said about the layoffs announced Monday at Special Metals Corp.’s plants in Huntington and Burnaugh is the news could have been much worse, particularly for those of us who live on the west side of the Big Sandy River.

 Precision Castparts Corp., parent company of Special Metals, cited adverse market conditions in making the decision to layoff 74 workers in Huntington and seven hourly workers at Special Metals Burnaugh plant, off U.S. 23 in rural Boyd County not far from the Lawrence County line.

While the loss of even a few jobs in these difficult economic times certainly is not good news, it is important to remember that even after the layoffs, 542 hourly workers remain employed at the Special Metals plant in Huntington, while 125 are still working at the Burnaugh plant.

Precision Castparts spokesman Dwight Weber also promised the laid-off workers — who primarily work in production and maintenance — will be recalled as business improves. In other words, this is a temporary reduction in staff not a permanent elimination of good-paying industrial jobs.

If that promise is fulfilled and the laid off workers are soon recalled, then Monday’s news will just be a relatively minor, temporary reduction in the area’s overall job picture. That’s what we are hoping for.