Corporate self-indulgence has become an enormous problem for workers and for the long-term strength of the economy.
By Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders
Feb. 3, 2019
(York) — Eighty workers at Metso Corp. will be out of a job by the end of March when the company shuts its York city manufacturing facility.
The layoffs is not expected to affect the 285 people who work in Metso’s engineering and customer service office in Springettsbury Township.
Darrell Auterson, CEO of the York County Economic Alliance, said his agency will work with Metso to help the affected factory workers.
“Our biggest concern is the workforce and making sure there’s a smooth transition,” he said.
The impending plant closing also means organizers of the annual factory whistle concert at the plant, a York tradition since 1955, may have to find a new home for the Christmas Eve event.
Metso has hosted the concert at its 240 Arch St. plant since 2013. It will hold the event again this December, Korlan Strayer, a Metso senior vice president, said Monday.
But, as for future years, “We’ll have to look at what options will be available,” Strayer said.
The plant’s upcoming closing comes amid a global downturn in demand for steel, Strayer said. Workers at the plant manufacture equipment used to grind rock into smaller pieces from which iron ore and copper are extracted. Demand for the minerals has fallen off as the pace of construction and infrastructure projects in China and other countries has slowed. Metso also closed a manufacturing plant earlier this year in Quebec, idling 191 workers.
Pennsylvania shed 1,600 manufacturing jobs between May and June, falling to 569,700 as of June, the state Department of Labor & Industry said. Employment in the sector, however, is up from 566,600 in June 2014.
About 30,000 people in the York-Hanover area work in manufacturing.
The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, District 98, represents about 50 unionized workers at Metso’s Arch Street plant. The other unionized workers there are represented by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.
Tom Santone, director of IAM District 98, said he expects his members, who are skilled machinists, will be able to find jobs with other companies in the York area. But for some, it will mean a transition they hadn’t planned on.
“A lot of the people have a lot of years and they wanted to finish their careers there,” Santone said.
Metso’s impending plant closing would end more than 100 years of manufacturing at the plant if another company doesn’t take it over.
Hardinge Co. opened the plant in 1906, Other owners over the years include Koppers Co., MPS, and the Swedish company Svedala Industri AB. Metso, a Finnish company, bought Svedala in 2001.
News that the annual factory whistle concert may have to find a new home hit Don Ryan, the factory whistle master, hard.
“I feel like I was on a 10-foot ladder and got knocked down,” Ryan said. “It’s a shock.”
Metso stepped in to host the concert starting in 2013 after New York Wire, the long-time host, said it was shutting its East Market Street plant. Last year’s concert was broadcast over the Internet and drew 61,000 views from 22 countries, Ryan said.
“Metso bent over backward for us,” he said. “I can’t say enough good things about them.”